Teacher who fathered child with former student found guilty of underage sex

Singapore's State Courts. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
Singapore's State Courts. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — An adjunct teacher who impregnated his former student was on Wednesday (31 July) found guilty of 19 charges of sexual penetration of a minor after a trial.

The student, now 19 and studying in a polytechnic, gave birth to their child two years ago.

The 41-year-old man is out on $25,000 bail and set to be sentenced on 29 August. He faces up to 10 years’ jail and a fine for each of his 19 charges.

During the trial earlier this year, he claimed that their sexual relationship began only after the student turned 16.

Confessed feelings for student

The man taught science at the student’s secondary school in northeastern Singapore. He taught her class in 2012 and they would exchange texts daily through WhatsApp.

At the end of 2013, he started tutoring her and another student in physics on weekends at his flat near her school.

They grew closer over the next two years, with the student visiting the teacher’s home on weekdays.

Between end-June and early July 2015, the then 15-year-old Secondary 4 student started to visit the man’s flat on average once a week when his mother was not around.

The duo would talk and lunch together. At times, she would also listen to him sing and play religious songs on his electronic keyboard.

In mid-July 2015, he confessed his feelings for her. Initially, she struggled with the possibility of a romantic relationship between a teacher and student, but she accepted his feelings and they became a couple by the end of the month.

Became more intimate

The contact between the teacher and student became more physical, progressing to hugging and kissing during her visits. Eventually, they became more intimate, stripping down to their underwear on some occasions.

The man claimed that they avoided having sex because the student was afraid of getting pregnant and it was also a violation of her religious belief against premarital sex. And she was aware that it was a crime for him to have sex with a person below 16 - she turned 16 later that year.

As part of his defence, the man pointed out text messages where the student expressed her fears of getting pregnant. “To her, teenage pregnancy is a scary thing. She said her whole life will be just gone like that,” he said.

But her worst fear was realised a year later when she found out that she was carrying his child in November 2016. At the time, she had just started school at a polytechnic and they had recently broken up. She was 16 weeks pregnant and decided to keep the baby.

The man claimed during the trial that they did not have sex until around 28 December 2015, two months after the student’s 16th birthday.

Calling 28 December 2015 a “milestone event”, he said she had stayed the night with him. She also allowed him to see her without her spectacles, something that she had been reluctant to show even to her friends and classmates.

“I remember taking off her spectacles before kissing her. She did not stop me from doing that, so this is a milestone in our relationship because she had faith and trust in me,” said the man.

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