SINGAPORE - The former head of a school's department for character and citizenship was jailed for four years and nine months yesterday for having an affair with a student 16 years his junior.
The 33-year-old former teacher, who held a local merit scholarship, was sleeping with the 15-year-old at the same time he was planning to be married, which nearly drove her to suicide.
Now unemployed, he pleaded guilty to one charge of committing an obscene act with a young person and four counts of sexual abuse committed in 2012.
Five other charges were considered during his sentencing.
The accused is not being named to protect the identity of the victim, who is now 17.
He was her form teacher in 2011 and, by the end of that year, they were communicating on WhatsApp and Facebook.
In 2012, the Secondary 3 student sought help with her studies. She also confided in him about her family and her struggles with schoolwork.
His messages to her grew increasingly personal and he would engage her in sexual conversations. Once, he asked if she would have sex with him as a forfeit if she lost a bet with him.
Community Court District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan said the question was asked as part of "sexual grooming".
"Thereafter, the conversations progressed from explicit text messages to overt intimate acts of affection to the eventual sexual intercourse.
"There is a strong element of moral corruption of the sexually inexperienced victim by the accused,'' he said.
Instead of offering appropriate support and guidance, the accused "overstepped his boundary of authority and exploited the trust" by beginning an intimate relationship with his student.
The court heard that the victim suffers from distressing intrusive memories, nightmares and emotional instability because of the affair.
She has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and anorexia nervosa. After he was married in May last year, she starved herself in an effort to forget him.
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