Singapore – A 35-year-old male Singaporean primary school teacher is on trial for molesting a 12-year-old boy. The boy’s mother admitted she was ‘indebted’ to the teacher and ‘betrayed’ for his actions.
A primary school teacher who cannot be named due to a court order to protect the victim’s identity is contesting three charges of molestation or attempting to molest a minor under 14. The teacher allegedly committed the offences on June 15 and 16, 2017.
On Monday (Feb 22), the boy’s mother testified for the first time in the trial, which began in Aug 2020. The 55-year-old single mother of four noted she had treated the man as family, only to be “betrayed” for his actions.
On several occasions, the mother noticed something was amiss with the relationship between the teacher and her son.
One day, when she returned home, she saw the man hugging her son while he sat on the man’s lap, reported todayonline.com.
Prior to the discovery, the mother’s supervisor informed her that the teacher was spotted hugging and kissing the boy while the latter sat on the man’s lap. The two were at a void deck of a public housing block where they lived.
Eventually, the boy confided with his mother that his teacher was allegedly molesting him.
The court heard that the man allegedly molested or tried to molest the boy three times during the stated period, including touching his crotch and putting his hand into the boy’s underwear.
The man has been suspended from his job since Jul 2017 and no longer teaches in any school.
“MOE (Ministry of Education) 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,” said an MOE representative on the incident.
Treated like family
The mother highlighted during her testimony that the teacher had grown to be like their family. He was invited to one of her son’s baptism ceremony and was going to their home “almost every day” for tuition lessons.
“He is like one of our family…He gave tuition, subsidised pocket money to school, bought stuff like clothing and a handphone,” said the mother.
The teacher would also drive the boy to school occasionally and brought him home every day. He also lent the mother money for utility bills, groceries and medical bills for one of her sons who suffered from depression.
According to bank transactions submitted to the court, the woman received sums between S$100 and S$500 transferred to her bank account several times between Jan and Jun 2017.
The teacher was recorded as the boy’s guardian in his report card during the first school term. He had also attended a parent-teacher meeting on her behalf. The son also admitted the man had given a bank card for personal use.
She scolded her son for accepting the gesture. He mentioned getting into a fight with the teacher after using the card to buy his girlfriend a teddy bear.
The mother revealed she had felt “indebted” to the man and did not speak up as she didn’t want to offend the man, although she felt “very sad” about what happened, the report noted.
The other incident of alleged molestation was when the son went over to the man’s place for a sleepover on Jun 15, 2017. The mother received a call from her son, signalling he was not okay, but the call was cut short as the man interrupted the conversation. Her son revealed the following day that he was molested.
When school reopened on Jun 27, the son’s counsellor asked the mother if she was aware of the molestation. She asked the school to delay reporting the incident to the police because she had already planned to meet the man.
The mother grew emotional towards the end of the hearing. “I trusted this man so much. I took him as part of my family, and he betrayed me,” she said.
The man’s trial is scheduled to continue on Tuesday (Feb 23). If convicted, the man can be jailed up to five years, fined, caned or sentenced to all three./TISG
Send in your scoop to email@example.com