A 40-year-old ex-teacher, Clarence Hoe King Chuan, has been acquitted of three charges under the Children and Young Persons Act on Wednesday, 20 Sept. Clarence, a former head of department at a primary school, was accused of indecent acts against two boys, aged 13 and 14 at the time, in 2012.
In clearing Clarence of the charges which he has been fighting for the past three years, since 2014, District Judge John Ng said that there was a “real possibility” that the boys conspired to falsely accuse their former teacher since they were not able to provide sufficient evidence to prove their claims.
The judge found that Clarence, on the other hand, provided credible evidence and raised doubts against the prosecution’s case.
Clarence initially faced 11 charges. The two boys accused Clarence of molesting them and getting the younger boy to massage his groin area. They alleged that Clarence touched the 13-year-old private parts and get the boy to touch his own genitals beneath his shorts at a flat.
Besides alleging that Clarence also touched the 14-year-old’s buttocks, thigh and genitals, the two boys accused that Clarence committed these acts over several consecutive months.
Considerable public backlash against Clarence ensued after news of the allegations broke. Clarence lost his job and was hounded as a child molester by members of the public online. He was even featured on an tutor blacklist website which released his personal details online:
Eventually, the prosecution dropped three charges from the original 11 to a total of 8 charges during trial. The prosecution then applied for Clarence to be discharged from 5 other charges, bringing the total amount of charges to 3 – two of which were amended in court.
Netizens were outraged on behalf of Clarence when news of his acquittal broke, with some lamenting that though he has been exonerated, it may still be too late to save his reputation and career:
After losing more than three prime years of his career and having his reputation dragged through the mud, it remains to be seen whether Clarence will be re-employed as a teacher and be able to carve out a bright future for himself after such a haunting chapter.
It also remains to be seen whether any action will be taken against the accusers.