SINGAPORE - Five years ago, he was a 47-year-old recently divorced teaching assistant. She was a 12-year-old student at the secondary school where he worked.
They grew close after exchanging text messages. So close that by early last year, they had had sex nine times.
The father of four, now 52, was sentenced to two years in jail on Oct 2 after pleading guilty to four counts of sex with the girl, now 17. Five other such charges were taken into consideration.
Asking for leniency, lawyer Selva K. Naidu said the man had never got in trouble with the law before and he was deeply regretful.
But Deputy Public Prosecutor Rachel Ng Bao Ling asked for a prison term of more than a year for each of the four charges.
She pointed out the 35-year age gap, and that the man had known that the girl was under 16 years old when they had sex in 2011 and 2012.
The pair got to know each other in 2008 at a secondary school in the eastern part of Singapore where he helped supervise students during design and technology practical lessons, and sometimes did relief teaching.
The following year, they started exchanging text messages after the girl got his mobile number from a classmate. In early 2011, she messaged him about sex. When he asked if she was willing to have sex with him, she agreed.
After the first time in a hotel, the girl, who was then 15, considered him her boyfriend, the court heard on Wednesday.
They went on to have sex eight more times - in another hotel, a staircase landing in a HDB block and at his sister's home.
The maximum penalty for having sex with a minor is 10 years in prison and a fine for each charge.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.