SINGAPORE — Two years after he stopped giving tuition to a female student, a man began texting her via social media.
The messages that the married man sent the now 16-year-old later became of a sexual nature, with the man claiming that he had feelings for his former student.
Things escalated when the 38-year-old began inviting the girl, then between 14 and 15, to his house when his wife was not around. They would cuddle there, or at a secluded area.
On Tuesday (25 May), the man was jailed eight months after he pleaded guilty to one out of three counts of committing an indecent act with a young person, with the other two counts considered for his sentencing. He cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim.
The man was a school teacher who also gave tuition to primary school students. He tutored the victim in 2015 and 2016 until midway through her Primary 6 education. Her parents stopped her tuition lessons after her grades deteriorated.
In 2018, the girl created an Instagram account and the man began communicating with her.
On 28 February 2019, when her school celebrated "appreciation day", the girl posted that she was preparing appreciation cards for her schoolmates on Instagram. The man asked for a card and said that he would pick it up personally. He drove to the girl's school a few days later to pick up the card and offered to drive her home. The girl accepted the offer.
On 31 March 2019, the man admitted that he "had feelings" for the girl. While she wanted to reject him, she feared that he would "react badly" and pretended to reciprocate his feelings, according to the prosecution.
In April 2019, the man picked the girl up to send her home. Before dropping her off, he stopped the car along Upper Thomson Road in a secluded area to kiss her.
On 3 June 2019, he invited her to his house to celebrate her birthday, and made sexual advances towards her as they watched a movie from the living room sofa.
He removed her blouse and bra and touched her groin and buttocks. He stopped when the girl pushed his hands away.
The girl kept silent as she feared being laughed at or having rumours spread about her. She was also afraid that her parents would scold her.
She began having suicidal thoughts, cutting herself and taking 40 Panadol tablets until she passed out. Her father brought her to the hospital. She was seen by a psychologist for her depression on 20 August 2019. She told the psychologist about the offences and a police report was lodged.
The man's lawyer, Adrian Wee, said that his client had reached out to her over her troubles and had tried to help her. Even though his acts were ill-advised, he was genuinely concerned about the girl, the lawyer added.
For committing an indecent act with a young person, the man could have been jailed up to five years, or fined up to $10,000.
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