SINGAPORE — A secondary school teacher got into a brief romantic relationship with a 15-year-old student and repeatedly pressured her to have sex with him, a court heard.
Over seven occasions in 2017, the man hugged, kissed and groped the girl, despite her reservations about their age gap and physical intimacy.
Once, he even told her that she deserved to be raped when she did not want to go out with him.
The victim’s mother found out about their relationship after they had broken up and made a police report.
At the State Courts on Thursday (23 January), the perpetrator, who is now 34, was jailed for 17 months after he pleaded guilty to three out of seven charges of committing an indecent act with a young person.
The remaining counts were considered in sentencing. The Singaporean cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity.
Wanted a whistle gift
The man joined the school in 2016 and became the victim’s teacher the next year. She followed him on Instagram in January 2017. He believed that she had a crush on him, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Deborah Lee.
On 30 May, the culprit congratulated the victim via the app for having a good timing for her 2.4km run. He messaged her again on 27 July and 2 August to check on her thumb after she injured it.
Then on 31 August, the victim messaged the perpetrator to wish him a happy Teachers’ Day. He started flirting with her by asking when she was going to get a boyfriend and said that he thought of her almost every day.
“The accused also suggested that the victim gift him a whistle for Teachers’ Day so that he could ‘blow’ it,” said DPP Lee.
The duo began messaging each other frequently. The perpetrator once told the victim that he had dreamt of sending her home and giving her a forehead kiss.
“The victim expressed her discomfort with the accused being her teacher and their age gap. However, the accused assured the victim that they would ‘keep a low profile’ until she graduated,” said DPP Lee.
Hugged and kissed victim
On 10 September, the culprit met the victim. They had lunch before he brought her to a void deck, holding hands with her along the way.
At the void deck, he hugged and kissed her. Afterwards, the perpetrator held hands with the victim and brought her to a bench, where he hugged and kissed her again.
“The accused also laid his hands on her chest area over her clothing while hugging her,” said DPP Lee.
Later that night, on 11 September, the culprit messaged to ask the victim if she would “accept” him as her boyfriend. She agreed on condition that they didn’t do anything she wasn’t comfortable with.
Instead, he “tried to pressure the victim to promise to have sexual intercourse with him when she turned 17 or 18 years old”, said DPP Lee.
On 12 September, the perpetrator sent sexually suggestive messages to the victim. Later that day, the duo met at a fitness corner, where the culprit again hugged and kissed the victim.
Victim uncomfortable with intimacy
On 14 September, the perpetrator asked the victim to meet him at a private place. There, he hugged and kissed the victim.
The next day, “the accused tried to pressure the victim into having sex with him and agreeing to marry him”, said DPP Lee. They later met at a staircase, where he touched her breasts over her clothing, squeezed her buttocks, and kissed her.
“The victim was uncomfortable with the physical intimacy and told the accused two to three times to stop touching her breast and buttocks. The accused complied and stopped,” said DPP Lee.
The culprit often initiated conversations of a sexual nature despite the victim’s discomfort, the prosecutor added.
On 17 September, he asked her to meet him at a void deck to study while he marked students’ papers. But when they met, he hugged and kissed her as she sat on his lap.
The perpetrator also continued to pressure the victim to be physically intimate with him. When she did not accede to his requests, he would scold her and be verbally abusive.
Proposed to be ‘friends with benefits’
On 14 October, the victim broke up with the culprit “as she felt guilty for being in a relationship with a teacher,” said DPP Lee. Still, he persisted in messaging her, even proposing a “friends with benefits” arrangement, added the prosecutor.
The accused asked if he could continue to be physically intimate with her like a couple and the victim agreed, said DPP Lee.
The perpetrator’s incriminating Instagram and WhatsApp messages were submitted to the court.
The victim’s mother stumbled upon the messages when she was checking her daughter’s phone. The victim admitted that she had been in a relationship with the culprit.
On 11 November 2017, the mother brought her daughter to a neighbourhood police centre to report the perpetrator’s crimes.
The maximum punishment for committing an indecent act with a child or young person, for a first-time offender, is a fine of up to $10,000 and up to five years’ jail.
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