Former teacher jailed for outraging modesty of primary school student
By Vanessa Paige Chelvan
POSTED: 15 Oct 2015 15:53
UPDATED: 15 Oct 2015 15:58
SINGAPORE: A former teacher has been sentenced to four weeks’ jail on Thursday (Oct 15) for outraging the modesty of his 9-year-old student by kissing her on the lips on two separate occasions in 2013 and 2014.
The offences came to light in February this year, after the victim confided in her mother, who reported the matter to police.
The 76-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity, had been employed as a relief teacher at the victim’s primary school.
The man took a liking to the victim because she resembled his former girlfriend from when he was a teenager, the court heard.
The man, on two occasions, asked the victim to help him carry some books out of the classroom, in a bid to separate her from her classmates and create time alone with her.
When the two were alone, the teacher would suddenly kiss the girl on her lips.
A BLATANT ABUSE OF TRUST: DPP
Deputy Public Prosecutor Agnes Chan called the man’s actions “a blatant abuse of trust and the authority vested in him as an educator.” The court heard that the man had been a long serving Chinese teacher until his retirement in 1975. Despite this, he “had no qualms about taking advantage of a young victim”, DPP Chan said.
“Instead of focusing on his role as an educator, he elected to exploit his position of authority in singling out a young and vulnerable victim”, said DPP Chan.
She added that cases involving young and vulnerable victims are difficult to detect, pointing to the fact that the young victim in this case did not report the abuse immediately, even as she “felt uncomfortable … And drank water to clean her lips (after the kiss)”, as she “did not know what to do in such a situation”.
KISS 'A FLEETING PECK': ACCUSED
The man’s lawyer, Mr Edmond Pereira, called the matter “an unfortunate case” and admitted that there is “no possible reason or excuse” for his client’s actions. Mr Pereira argued that there was “no element of force involved … (Nor) other bodily contact”, and that the kiss was not sexual in any way.
The 76-year-old man, who is married with grown-up children, had been looking forward to having a grandchild, Mr Pereira said, calling the kiss “a fleeting peck … Nothing more”.
INSTEAD OF EDUCATING, YOU CHOSE TO EXPLOIT: JUDGE TO ACCUSED
DPP Chan disputed this, calling the man’s act “intimate, intrusive” and “no grandfatherly kiss”. The DPP also said that a Child Guidance Clinic report stated that the girl now “fears that someone might enter the home after the family had gone to bed” and that “(the teacher) might kiss her again.”
Despite the man’s frail health and the fact that “his current condition … cannot withstand incarceration”, according to a medical report submitted by Mr Pereira, District Judge Mathew Joseph said that a lesser punishment would not suffice, and that arrangements could be made with prison authorities regarding the man’s care in prison.
In sentencing him, Judge Mathew noted the wide age gap – almost seven decades – between the accused and the victim. “Instead of educating her, you chose to exploit her”, the judge said.
The elderly man made the sign of the cross on his chest as his sentence was being handed down.
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