In a shocking case of sexual abuse, a former student volunteer with a non-profit society has been sentenced to eight years in jail.
The 48-year-old primary school teacher, who cannot be named due to court-issued gag orders, pleaded guilty to three charges of committing an indecent act with a child and having carnal intercourse against the order of nature, as per the report.
On Monday (Nov 27), the 48-year-old primary school teacher, who has been suspended, received a jail sentence of eight years.
Eight additional charges were taken into consideration.
The crimes occurred during the early 1990s when the offender, who was then in his late teens, was volunteering with a society that provided student care services for children from low-income or troubled households. Tasked with supervising children and providing tuition, the offender sexually abused three boys, identified as V1 (between 10 and 12 years old at the time), V2 (between nine and 12 years old), and V3 (between five and eight years old).
Investigations into the abuse were initiated in 2019 when V1, now a man, read a news report about sexual assault and decided to lodge a police report regarding the abuse he had suffered as a child.
Subsequent investigations uncovered the offenses against the other two victims.
According to the report, the prosecution argued that the victims had suffered scars and trauma as a result of the crimes committed by the offender. However, none of the boys had reported the abuse at the time, as they were too young to understand that what was happening to them was wrong.
The offender was trusted by both the society and the parents of the children, and no concerns were raised.
The court heard that the man stopped volunteering in 1999 and became a primary school teacher. His lawyer claimed that he had not reoffended since and had learned from his actions. The lawyer further argued that the offender was a teenager at the time of the offenses and was grappling with a sexual awakening without proper guidance.
As per CNA report, “In the course of his career, he has had interactions with hundreds, if not thousands of children and he has never abused his position of trust and responsibility in relation to these children,” said Mr Satish who represented the accused in court.
“He had learnt while training for his career that what he had done was wrong, and he learnt what is appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.”
The lawyer stated that his client was in his teenage years when he carried out the offenses, and he was attempting to comprehend the evolving experience of sexual awakening that he was going through.
“Regrettably, he lacked adequate support or guidance, leaving him insecure about exploring his sexuality, which greatly influenced his decision to commit the offenses,” Mr. Satish stated.
However, Justice Dedar Singh Gill questioned this argument, emphasizing that the accused was in a clear position of authority. The victims forgave the accused or stated that he had helped them, but the scars of trauma remained.
In a letter read out in court, the accused expressed deep remorse and accepted full responsibility for his actions. He apologized to his victims, as well as his parents and brother, acknowledging the hurt he had caused his family.
The man expressed his deep regret for disappointing his late father and failing to take care of his mother. He acknowledged the pain he inflicted on his family by using his mother’s life savings and expressed his remorse for his actions.
While on bail, he stayed at home, feeling guilty and crying himself to sleep. To make amends, he wrote apology letters to the victims and entrusted them to his lawyer since he couldn’t directly contact them. Ultimately, he vowed to never repeat such behavior, as he desperately wants to avoid further shame to his parents.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tay Jia En sought a sentence of eight to ten years’ jail, highlighting the vulnerability of the victims and the lasting effects of their trauma. The judge noted the accused’s abuse of his position of trust and authority over the victims and allowed him to begin his jail term in December.
The judge acknowledged that the man had clearly taken advantage of his position of trust and power over the victims, who were particularly vulnerable because of their young ages.
According to the judge, the offenses occurred between 1992 and 1996, covering all the charges. Nevertheless, the judge took into consideration the man’s plea of guilt and his relatively young age at the time the offenses were committed. As a result, he permitted the man to commence his jail sentence in December.
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