Teacher 'admitted to touching boy's thighs'

Principal takes stand in trial of man accused of molesting 13-year-old student

An art teacher accused of molesting one of his students on Feb 17 last year admitted to his principal the next day to touching the boy's thighs, a district court heard yesterday.

The man, 38, who has been interdicted from his teaching job, faces three molestation charges involving the student who was 13 at the time and in Secondary 1.

He allegedly touched the boy's groin, thigh, buttock and chest while they were alone in the art room of the school in the western part of Singapore. He cannot be named to protect the boy's identity.

Taking the stand on the first day of the trial, the principal testified that the teacher confessed on Feb 18 last year to commenting on the boy's leg hair, and that he had asked the teenager if he had seen an adult manga.

The court heard that the man also told her he had asked the student if he had masturbated and whether he had been in a boy-girl relationship.

When Deputy Public Prosecutor Amanda Chong asked the principal for her opinion about these, she replied: "As an educator, I felt that these things are not acceptable if they were true.

"(The man) appeared to be shocked and remorseful. He told me he had gone overboard."

The principal also told District Judge John Ng that the school did not alert the police immediately about the incident due to its protocol. Instead, it informed the Ministry of Education to seek its direction on what to do next.

The court heard that the boy and his parents went to the children's emergency department of National University Hospital that day where Dr Lim Yang Chern examined him. The doctor alerted the police after he found no injuries on the boy.

The teenager's former form teacher testified yesterday that she was at home at around 9.30pm on Feb 17 last year when the boy's mother called her mobile phone.

The form teacher, who also taught the boy English, told Judge Ng that the mother then put her son on the line. He then told his form teacher that the man had touched his private parts.

When the man's lawyer, Mr Shashi Nathan, asked the form teacher about her relationship with his client, she replied that they got along quite well and have had meals together.

DPP Chong asked the form teacher if she had any reasons to doubt the boy's accusations. She replied: "No. He had no reasons to lie. He's a well-behaved student."

The trial resumes today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2017, with the headline 'Teacher 'admitted to touching boy's thighs''. Print Edition | Subscribe