SINGAPORE — A former physics teacher who impregnated his former secondary school student after they entered into a sexual relationship when she was 15 years old was sentenced to eight years’ jail on Friday (30 August).
The girl, who is now 19 years old, decided to keep the child. The baby is about two years old and under her care.
Both the man and the girl cannot be named to protect her identity.
Guilty of sexual penetration of minor
The prosecution sought eight years’ jail for the 41-year-old man, who was found guilty in July of sexual penetration of a minor. After a trial, he was convicted of 19 counts of sexual penetration of a person under 16 years old, which occurred on 10 occasions between August and September 2015 at his house.
“What we see here is that the accused initiated the relationship and while the sexual offences took place, he was still her teacher in school, (and in) a flagrant abuse of trust, he took advantage of the relationship and his special influence over the victim and, instead of guiding her, he lead her astray from her own values about premarital sex,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor James Chew.
“After her worst fear of becoming pregnant came true, she was left high and dry to deal with the aftermath on her own.”
In mitigation, the teacher’s lawyers Ravinderpal Singh and Trent Ng said that their client had offered to maintain the child but was rejected by the girl’s family.
Singh said that his client and the victim had “enjoyed a genuine romantic relationship”, evident from the texts they exchanged. The defence lawyer asked for five years’ jail.
In sentencing the teacher, District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt agreed with the prosecution that the man had abused his position of trust by exploiting the girl’s feelings and taking advantage of her sexually.
“I am unable to find any mitigating circumstances in this case. The accused has also not shown remorse by contesting the charges,” added the judge.
Accused was victim’s teacher for four years
The man taught science and physics for all four years of the girl’s secondary school education from 2012 to 2015. Towards the end of 2013, the teacher offered to give her private tuition in physics.
After discussions with her family, she agreed to be tutored by him along with at least one other girl, and the sessions were held on Saturday mornings at his flat near the school.
Between end-June and early July 2015, the then 15-year-old girl began to visit the man’s flat on average once a week. They would talk and have lunch together, and at times the girl would listen to her teacher sing and play religious songs on his electronic keyboard.
During the trial, the man claimed that the girl had began visiting him as he had been absent from school due to a chronic cough condition.
“I feel touched that she showed me this care and concern because of my health condition,” he said.
“I also remember during a conversation about my social life, she was concerned that I would grow old and lonely, and offered to take care of me when that happens.”
In mid-July of 2015, the man confessed his feelings for the girl and she later agreed to be in a relationship with him.
The pair soon became intimate and they had sexual intercourse for the first time on 10 August 2015, two months shy of the girl’s 16th birthday.
This intimate relationship continued until the girl ended it in September or October the following year, when she entered a polytechnic. Three months after the pair broke up, the girl found out that she was pregnant with his child.
As part of his defence, the man claimed that he only had sex with the girl after she turned 16. The man said that the pair had avoided having sex as the girl was fearful of getting pregnant and that premarital sex was against her religious convictions.
He claimed in court that, even though the two were intimate, there was no sexual penetration until 28 December 2015, after the girl turned 16.
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