SINGAPORE — A teacher who kissed his 14-year-old female secondary school student on the lips twice was sentenced to six months’ jail on Tuesday (3 September).
The 35-year-old man pleaded guilty to one count of committing an obscene act with a child in July last year.
He was the co-curricular activities teacher of the 14-year-old and went out with her alone several times before he made sexual advances on her.
Both the teacher and the student, now 15, cannot be named to protect the girl’s identity.
Teacher and student had been exchanging text messages and had gone out one-on-one on several occasions before the incident. For example, on 18 July last year, they visited a shopping mall to have a hair cut together, with the man paying for the haircuts. They then had coffee and chatted before heading their separate ways.
On 28 July, the teacher acted as a chaperone for a school outing where students, including the victim, attended a play. At the end of the play that evening, the teacher asked the victim out for dinner at a Japanese restaurant.
While the girl sat opposite her teacher during dinner, he asked her to sit next to him after they had finished their meals. When the victim complied, the man placed his right arm over her shoulder.
He then leaned towards the victim and kissed her on her lips. The girl felt shocked, embarrassed and scared, according to Deputy Public Prosecutor Deborah Lee. “Unsure of how to react, she burst out laughing,” said the DPP. The pair left soon after.
The pair took a walk around the area despite the girl saying she wanted to return home. At about 7pm, the man brought the girl to a staircase of a nearby building. As the girl walked in front of the man, he called out to her. When the girl turned around, the teacher leaned towards her and planted a kiss on her lips.
The girl told another teacher about the incident and said she was uncomfortable. Another teacher lodged a police report on 27 August on behalf of the victim’s parent.
The prosecution called for at least eight months’ jail for the teacher, saying that general deterrence and retribution are the key sentencing considerations in this case
It noted the vulnerability of the victim as well as the abuse of trust, given that the man was the teacher in charge of victim’s CCA. On top of that, he was the chaperone in charge of the victim and other students on the evening of the offence.
The man’s lawyer Raphael Louis, said that his client had no excuse for his actions. He added that there was a delay in sentencing due to a disagreement on the facts of the case, but that his client admitted to the offence. His client also submitted a written apology to the court.
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