CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to include the man's caning sentence, which was omitted in its earlier version.
SINGAPORE — A freelance instructor teaching dance to primary school students molested two boys under his tutelage.
The man, 42, had slipped his hand into the clothes of two boys, aged between nine and 10.
He was sentenced to three years and 10 months' jail and six strokes of the cane on Thursday (27 January) after he pleaded guilty to three out of five counts of molesting minors under 14. The remaining counts were considered for his sentencing.
The victims cannot be named to protect their identities.
Prior to his arrest on 22 September 2020, the man had been engaged on a contract basis to teach Malay dance at primary schools. Both victims had been members of the Malay dance co-curricular activity.
In mid-2016, one of the boys was preparing for a dance performance in the school dance room when the man approached him to adjust his costume.
While doing so, the man slipped his hand into the boy’s underwear and touched his private parts for five seconds. The boy froze in fear and did not resist. He proceeded with his performance.
The boy attended a debrief in the school dance room later on, dressed in his school’s physical education T-shirt and shorts. Halfway through the briefing, as the boy was seated behind a group of students, the man approached him again.
Even as the other teachers spoke, the man wrapped both arms around the boy’s waist and slipped both hands into the victim’s shorts and underwear. He touched the boy for up to 20 seconds. The boy became still with fear.
The boy knew the touches were wrong but did not know how to tell other adults about it. In end August 2020, he went through a sexual education class and decided to tell his teacher and mother about the touches. He made a police report on 11 September 2020.
In the case of the second boy, he was heading to a toilet to change after a dance performance on 15 November 2019 when the man followed him. He asked the boy to accompany him into a toilet cubicle. He then pulled down the boy’s shorts and touched the boy’s private parts for close to five minutes.
Though uncomfortable with the interaction, the boy did not confide in anyone.
The man targeted this boy again on 3 February 2020, while the two were in a chartered school bus to perform at an external venue.
The boy sat at the back of the bus with his friend, but the man asked him to move to the last row. There, he molested the boy for about 20 minutes until the bus reached the performance venue.
In August 2020, this boy also went through two sessions of sexual education classes and comprehended that what the man did was wrong. He confided in his teacher, who escalated it to the school management. A police report was lodged on 21 September 2020.
The man could have been jailed up to five years' jail, and/or fine, and/or caned for molesting a minor under 14.
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