In a case reported by CNA, a former teacher from a prestigious school in Singapore has been sentenced to 54 days in jail for exposing a teenage student to pornographic material.
The incident unfolded when the student, who was 17 years old at the time, contemplated skipping school due to feelings of social isolation and a lack of purpose in life. Concerned about her son’s well-being, the student’s mother reached out to the teacher for help.
The identity of the 49-year-old offender, as well as details about the school and the subject he taught, are subject to a gag order.
Handled Matter Independently
The teacher, who had over 22 years of teaching experience, pleaded guilty to one count of showing sexual material to the student. Additionally, a charge of possessing over 1,000 obscene video files was taken into consideration by the court. The victim, who was in year 6 (equivalent to junior college year 2), had the offender as his form teacher since 2020.
According to CNA, the sequence of events began in January 2021 when the victim’s mother emailed the teacher, expressing her concerns about her son’s academic performance and emotional well-being.
Recognizing the student’s withdrawal and signs of distress, the teacher offered to have a private conversation with him. During their discussion, the teenager shared his negative thoughts and self-harming behaviors as coping mechanisms. Subsequently, the teacher provided his phone number to the student, suggesting that their communication be kept discreet.
The victim later informed his mother about the conversation, expressing gratitude for finding someone who seemed to understand him. Unbeknownst to the mother, the teacher began texting the student, falsely claiming to have obtained permission from the school to handle the matter independently.
“Medication & M*sturbation.”
In February 2021, the teacher led the student to a consultation area within the school and gave him a self-help book. It was during this meeting that the teacher made inappropriate suggestions, stating that males of the student’s age had only two ways to destress – “medication and masturbation.”
The conversation took a disturbing turn when the teacher started asking the student sexual questions and showed him links to pornographic websites.
Several days later, the teacher invited the student to his apartment, where he continued discussing pornographic content and shared his personal experiences with sex workers. The teacher provided alcohol to the underage student, persistently asked sexual questions, and showed him explicit videos
The student tried to avoid watching them, but the teacher noticed his discomfort. When the student expressed a desire to leave, the teacher intentionally delayed arranging transportation to allow the smell of alcohol to dissipate.
The victim realized the immorality of the teacher’s behavior upon returning home and confided in his mother the next day. The matter was escalated to school authorities, who subsequently filed a police report.
Following the incident, the teacher resigned from his position.
During his arrest, the teacher claimed genuine concern for the student’s well-being but admitted to crossing boundaries due to his own depression and a desire for companionship. An assessment conducted at the Institute of Mental Health revealed that the teacher had major depressive disorder, benzodiazepine use disorder, and some personality disorder traits.
However, these conditions were determined to have no causal link to his offenses, and he was deemed fit to stand trial.
In court, the prosecution sought a three-month jail term, emphasizing the teacher’s abuse of trust, manipulation of the student’s vulnerability, and the potential severe impact on the victim’s mental and emotional well-being. They also acknowledged the defendant’s lack of prior convictions and his overall commitment to his students’ welfare throughout his career as an educator.
The judge ultimately sentenced the former teacher to 54 days in jail, with the term set to begin on July 17. The offense of making a teenager view pornographic material while exploiting their vulnerability carries a maximum penalty of up to one year of imprisonment, a fine, or both.
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