Primary school teacher on trial for allegedly molesting 10-year-old male pupil in department head's room
- A teacher, 43, is on trial for five charges related to the molestation of a male primary school pupil
- The pupil was aged 10 at the time of the offences
- They allegedly happened within the school's head of department room between 2017 and 2018
- The man was the teacher-in-charge of the boy's Scouts co-curricular activity
- The court heard how a relative of the victim would seek his help to speak to the boy whenever he experienced problems at home
SINGAPORE — A 43-year-old teacher is on trial at a district court on Monday (June 13) for allegedly molesting a primary school boy on multiple occasions more than four years ago within the school's head of department room.
The offences were allegedly committed while the man was teaching in the school and overseeing the Scouts co-curricular activity.
The boy, who was a Scout member, was 10 when the alleged offences happened. He is now 15 years old.
The parties involved as well as the school cannot be named due to a court order to protect the identity of the victim.
On Monday, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Lim Ying Min told the court that the prosecution is proceeding on five outrage of modesty charges.
Court documents showed that the man is accused of touching the boy’s private parts over his shorts, once in November 2017 and four other times in March, July, August and October 2018.
The accused, who was 38 at the time of the alleged offences, is represented by Mr Gino Hardial Singh of law firm Abbots Chambers LLC.
Taking the court through the facts of the case, DPP Lim said that the boy joined Scouts in 2016 and began confiding to the man a year later about his family problems.
The teacher was aware that the boy’s parents were divorced, and that he was living with his mother and a stepfather with whom he did not have a good relationship.
The teacher also knew that the boy would often turn up in school with bruises because of the stepfather's beatings.
DPP Lim said that a female relative of the victim would seek the teacher's help to speak to the boy whenever he had an argument with either his stepfather or his mother.
This female relative, whose relationship to the boy was not stated in court, eventually arranged for him to live with his paternal uncle and his biological brother in October 2018.
About a month later on Nov 8 in 2018, about a year after the first alleged offence took place, the teacher took the victim and two of his friends out to celebrate the victim’s birthday by having dinner at Sakae Sushi restaurant in Woodlands Civic Centre.
Four days later, on Nov 12, the school principal informed the teacher that the boy had made allegations against him.
Details of the alleged offences, as well as how the boy informed the principal about them, was not mentioned in court.
DPP Lim said that the boy filed a police report on Nov 13, 2018. The man was arrested on July 8 last year, which is more than 2.5 years after the report was made.
As their first witness on Monday, the prosecutors called up a forensic specialist from the police's Criminal Investigation Department to give testimony about the sketches she made of the school’s head of department room, where the alleged offences took place.
The victim’s evidence was then heard in camera in the second half of the day. This meant that members of the public were not allowed to sit in during the court hearing.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) said in response to TODAY's queries that the accused has been suspended from service since 2018 and is no longer teaching in any school.
"MOE takes a serious view of staff misconduct and will not hesitate to take disciplinary action against those who fail to adhere to our standards of conduct and discipline, including dismissal from service."
The trial continues on Tuesday.
If found guilty of committing an offence against a person under the age of 14, the man could be jailed up to five years, as well as fined and caned.