A former teacher was sentenced to jail on Monday, January 22, for molesting his student while she was participating in a class activity.
The 55-year-old Singaporean man received a 16-month jail term for one count of molesting a minor, and an additional 45 days’ imprisonment in lieu of caning due to his age. The identity of the man, the victim, the school, and other related details cannot be disclosed, as ordered by the court to protect the victim’s anonymity.
According to the report, the man joined the Ministry of Education in 1993 and was assigned to teach at the victim’s primary school in 2005.
Initially teaching multiple subjects, he later became a physical education (PE) instructor for students in Primary 1 through 6. The incident took place in 2015 when the victim was around six to seven years old and attending Primary 1 at the school, with the offender serving as her PE teacher.
During a theory class for PE, the teacher set up a laptop at the front of the classroom and asked students to take turns sitting on his lap and playing a game. When it was the victim’s turn, she sat on the teacher’s lap, hoping to participate in the activity.
As per the report, it was during this time that the teacher molested her, leading to the victim feeling “very disgusted, scared, and embarrassed” upon recollection of the incident.
The incident remained unreported for several years until 2020 when the victim attended a sexual education class and realized the wrongful nature of the teacher’s actions. She subsequently reached out to the school’s disciplinary officer on Mar 18, 2021, disclosing the events from 2015 and expressing concern for her younger sister who was also in Primary 1.
Following the victim’s report, the accused admitted to the allegations, acknowledging that he had also molested other female students in a similar manner. He revealed that he targeted younger female students in lower primary as he believed older girls would recognize the impropriety of his actions.
“serious abuse of position and breach of trust”.
During the sentencing hearing, the defence team emphasized that the physical contact was over clothes and brief. On the other hand, the Deputy Public Prosecutor requested a jail term ranging from twenty-one-and-a-half to twenty-five-and-a-half months, factoring in additional jail time in lieu of caning.
The prosecution stressed the severity of the offence, citing the young age of the victim and the perpetrator’s breach of trust and abuse of authority.
“significant aggravating factors”
In her ruling, District Judge Kamala Ponnampalam acknowledged the absence of direct skin-to-skin contact but highlighted the significant aggravating factors of the case, particularly the victim’s tender age and the teacher’s deliberate actions to distract the child before committing the offence.
The judge granted the defence’s request for the man to commence his jail term on February 13, affording him time to spend with his family before incarceration.
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