Teacher jailed 15 months over indecent acts on student who later committed suicide

Singapore's State Courts seen on 21 April 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
Singapore's State Courts seen on 21 April 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — A teacher at a top secondary school who got into a relationship with his student 11 years ago was on Tuesday (24 May) jailed for 15 months, according to media reports.

The 47-year-old man had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of committing an indecent act on the victim, who was 15 at the time of the offences in 2011. Another two counts of a similar nature were considered in sentencing.

The victim only informed another teacher about her relationship with the accused in 2018, after she returned to her school to work as a relief teacher. He quit his job after the offences came to light. The victim committed suicide in May last year, according to media reports.

Accused met victim in 2009

The man met the victim, after he was transferred to her school in 2009. He taught her class history and was the teacher-in-charge of her advanced history class. He was also the teacher-in-charge of her co-curricular activity.

In the later half of 2010, the pair began meeting for coffee inside and outside of school and sharing about their personal lives. The girl was then 15.

In December 2010, the man went on holiday but continued texting the victim. She understood from their communication that he wanted to treat her like a partner. When he returned in January, they met more frequently in school and depended on each other for emotional support.

By end-February 2011, the pair were in a relationship and would hold hands when they were alone in school. They would meet in a student room allocated for the girl’s co-curricular activity, which she used as a study room. The man would often bring his work and join her there.

'I can do anything now'

Sometime between March and May 2011, the duo were alone in the room, with the victim standing near a wall. The man approached her, spurring her to back up against the wall. He then grabbed her wrists with both hands, lifted it above her head and pressed it against the wall. He then pressed his body against hers and said, “I can do anything now."

He released her after 15 seconds. The victim felt embarrassed and confused, but did not react.

On another occasion during the same period, the pair were in the room alone when the man, who was seated, reached out and touched her private parts. Surprised, she stepped away from him when he removed his hand.

The two continued their relationship and met during the June school holidays in 2011. After the school term resumed, the man ended their relationship and did not make further advances towards her. They continued to contact each other after the victim left the school.

In January 2014, the victim returned to the school as a relief teacher for six months, a stint arranged by the man. The victim then began showing signs of an eating disorder. In April, the man and another female teacher accompanied the victim to Singapore General Hospital.

The victim stopped all communication with the man in November 2016, but told a female teacher about her relationship with him in August 2018. The female teacher escalated the matter and the school principal filed a police report on the victim's behalf on 2 October 2018.

The principal stated that the teacher left the school in December 2016 and was a civil servant elsewhere. The victim did not want to make a police report and agreed for the school to make the report on her behalf.

For each of his charges, the man could have been jailed for up to five years and/or fined up to S$10,000.

Stay in the know on-the-go: Join Yahoo Singapore's Telegram channel at http://t.me/YahooSingapore