SINGAPORE — A teacher at a top secondary school who got into a relationship with his student will be assessed to see if his bipolar disorder contributed to his offences against the underaged girl 11 years ago.
The 47-year-old man 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 will be considered for his sentencing.
The victim only informed another teacher about her relationship with the accused man in 2018, after she had returned to her school to work as a relief teacher. She and the man cannot be named to protect her identity.
District Judge Eddy Tham called for a mandatory treatment order suitability report to assess if the man was suited to undergo treatment for his bipolar disorder in lieu of jail time. He will be assessed by a Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist.
Accused met victim in 2009
The accused, a Ministry of Education teacher, met the victim, now aged 24, 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 latter 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. The victim understood from their communication that the accused wanted to treat her like a partner. When the accused 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 the victim in the room.
'I can do anything now'
Between March and May 2011, the duo were alone in the room, with the victim standing near a wall. The man then approached her, spurring her to back up against the wall. The man then grabbed her wrists with both hands, lifted it above her head and pressed it against the wall. He 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.
In the same period, the pair were in the room alone when the man, who was seated, reached out and touched her private parts. Surprised, the girl stepped away from the man 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 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 the man in August 2018. The female teacher escalated the matter and the school principal filed a police report on behalf of the victim on 2 October 2018.
The principal stated that the teacher left the school in December 2016 and was a civil servant elsewhere. The report added that the victim did not want to make a police report and agreed for the school to make the report on her behalf.
The man will return to court for sentencing on 11 April.
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