JC teacher jailed for sex acts with boy, then 14

A Junior-College teacher who had engaged in sexual activity with a then 14-year-old boy he befriended on Facebook was jailed for 25 months yesterday.

Physics teacher Paul Tan Sze Aik, 37, admitted to three charges, with three other offences - including having obscene films - taken into consideration during sentencing.

Undergraduate Suhaimi Shamsudin, 24, had earlier also been jailed for engaging in sex acts with the youngster.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz told the court that Tan, who already had a Facebook account, set up another one to meet new friends online using the moniker "Alegon Kenny Lonewolf".

In November 2012, he sent a "friend request" to the minor, introducing himself as a 19-year-old living alone as his parents were overseas.

After chatting online, they arranged to meet.

Tan, who has been suspended from his teaching post, picked up the boy from a bus interchange on Dec 2 and took him to his mother's Bishan flat after they had lunch.

The teen was left alone for a few hours while Tan ran errands, as he was going overseas the next day. They later went out for dinner and returned to the flat, where the boy watched television while Tan surfed the Internet and packed for his trip.

Tan left on the pretence of picking up his brother, but returned alone about 30 minutes later.

At about midnight, the pair went into Tan's bedroom, where he committed an obscene act and the sexual offence.

District Judge Siva Shanmugam said yesterday that young and vulnerable victims need to be protected from sexual exploitation, regardless of whether the acts were consensual.

He noted several aggravating factors in Tan's case: "The accused had full knowledge of the minor's age, but this did not deter him from initiating and engaging in numerous sexual acts with the minor at the earliest available opportunity.

"The accused's unscrupulous and effective use of the Internet in befriending and exploiting the minor is yet another setback to the safety and security of young people using the Internet."

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.