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Ex-teacher, 66, jailed for molesting girl, 7

SINGAPORE — A 66-year-old former teacher at an enrichment centre was sentenced to 19.5 months’ jail on Tuesday (Jan 3) for molesting a seven-year-old girl during class over a three-month period in 2014.

SINGAPORE — A 66-year-old former teacher at an enrichment centre was sentenced to 19.5 months’ jail on Tuesday (Jan 3) for molesting a seven-year-old girl during class over a three-month period in 2014.

Ian Lewis, a Briton, had another similar charge for molesting another victim, aged eight, in March last year taken into consideration during sentencing. 

The victims cannot be named to protect their identities.

The court heard that Lewis had been a reading specialist teacher at the centre located at Orchard Road since 2012. The victim was a student at the centre between November 2013 and December 2014, where she attended his class every Sunday between 2.30pm and 4pm. Each class had about four to six students.

During lessons, Lewis would sit beside her and, from beneath the table where no one could see, would slip his hand under her clothes. Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Chee Ee Ling said this happened on a number of occasions. 

While the victim felt uncomfortable and frightened, she did not inform anyone because she was afraid Lewis would scold her, DPP Chee added. 

The girl confided in her mother only after watching an episode of the Singapore-produced crime-prevention series Crimewatch, where a tutor was shown behaving inappropriately with a student. 

When they went to the police, they realised that Lewis had been suspended over a similar complaint lodged by the parents of another student.

DPP Chee urged the court to impose a jail term of 18 months — with an extra six weeks’ jail in lieu of three strokes of the cane, because offenders over the age of 50 cannot be caned under the law. She said: “Bent solely on satisfying his selfish lust, the accused took the calculated risk that the victim, due to her vulnerability and naivety, will not report him.”

“She was a student of the accused and had barely hit puberty when she was sexually assaulted by him. He abused his position, and breached the trust and authority bestowed on him as her teacher,” DPP Chee added.

In his oral grounds of decision, District Judge Eddy Tham said the vulnerability of the minor was a key consideration in this case. 

The younger the victim, the more vulnerable she is and would need more protection, he added. 

“In exploiting such a young minor of only seven years old while she had been entrusted to the accused by her parents for the purpose of education, (this) would warrant the sternest of (reprobation) from the court,” he said. 

The centre, which TODAY is not naming to protect the victims’ identities, said in response to queries that it has put in place “enhanced monitoring systems” since the incidents came to light. “The matter has been dealt with in the Singapore Courts and we have very little else to add,” the centre’s executive director said.

For outraging the modesty of someone below 14 years old, Lewis could have been jailed up to five years and fined.

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