SINGAPORE — A 40-year-old tennis coach was on Friday (18 December) jailed for two years and nine months for sexually abusing a male student between June 2013 and March 2014.
At the time, Phoo Siang Qing was 33 while the student was 15.
The culprit pleaded guilty to two charges of committing or procuring obscene or indecent acts from a child, and one count involving sexual penetration.
Six other similar charges were considered in sentencing.
The offences took place in Phoo’s car and at a HDB block in Marine Crescent.
In asking for a deterrent sentence, Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao said the offences involved abuse of trust as the victim’s parents had entrusted him to the culprit.
This was also not a case in which the victim and the perpetrator were in a romantic relationship, the prosecutor said.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Peter Fernando said that at the time, Phoo was depressed after a break-up from a two-year relationship and was feeling suicidal.
The culprit had been uncomfortable and ashamed of his sexuality since his youth, and lacked self-confidence, the lawyer said.
He added that there was no coercion involved in the offences; Phoo took advantage of the victim’s curiosity.
Phoo is currently taking anti-depressants and undergoing counselling, Fernando said.
The maximum punishment for committing or procuring obscene acts from a child is a fine of up to $10,000 along with a jail term of up to five years, for a first-time offender.
For his sexual penetration charge, Phoo could have been jailed for up to 10 years and also fined.
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