Vice-principal sex crimes trial: Lawyer says alleged victim was 'very persistent' in asking for $200k

SINGAPORE - A man who claimed his former primary school vice-principal had sexually abused him as a child was "very persistent" in asking for $200,000.

This was purportedly for compensation to settle the matter out of court, the accused's lawyer said on Thursday (March 29).

The alleged victim, now 29, sent the vice-principal more than 20 text messages from Nov 5 to 24, 2015, to get the money.

The 55-year-old educator finally agreed to meet him on Nov 24. But instead of handing over the money, the older man served him with a lawyer's cease-and-desist order, accusing him of extortion.

The younger man made a police report detailing the alleged sexual abuse the next day.

The vice-principal is on trial for three counts of committing an indecent act on a young person and six of having carnal intercourse against the order of nature with the victim when he was a teenager.

He has been suspended from his duties. The two men cannot be named due to a gag order.

 
 

On Tuesday, the younger man told the court he thought it would be a good idea to settle the matter privately, without involving the police.

But the text messages did not resolve much at first and the alleged victim said on Thursday: "It had dragged on for so long. It was a mental torture."

He said his wife, whom he married in 2016, was the one who suggested the $200,000 sum. He said that asking for a smaller amount would downplay the gravity of the alleged offences.

Defence lawyer T. M. Sinnadurai said his client initially responded to the text messages, albeit briefly, before meeting his accuser.

The alleged victim claimed he was first sexually abused in his school in 2003 when he was 14 years old.

After his Chinese national mother was repatriated for working illegally in Singapore, the vice-principal became his guardian and the alleged victim moved into the older man's flat in Woodlands in late 2004. The alleged victim claimed the sexual abuse continued until 2006 and he moved out in 2013.

He told District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt: "If (the vice-principal) could remove all the bad things he had done to me, he'd be an excellent educator... He'd have no flaws."

The alleged victim also took time in court to explain that he relied on a combination of his mother's financial contributions, bursaries and loans to put himself through school right up to his university graduation.

And during his time in the Woodlands flat, he said he paid $300 in rent monthly to the household which included the educator's parents and a maid.

After moving out, he stayed with his future wife's family and in 2015, purchased a condominium unit for $525,000. He told the court he had to borrow $120,000 from his mother for the down payment and now pays the monthly mortgage through a combination of his monthly salary and CPF contribution.

The case has been adjourned for a pre-trial conference on April 9.