Ex-teacher from top school who committed indecent acts on student has history of bipolar disorder
A teacher from one of Singapore's top schools, who entered into a relationship with an underage female student and committed indecent acts on her, has a history of bipolar disorder, a district court heard on Tuesday (Jan 18).
District Judge Eddy Tham called for a report to assess the man's suitability for a mandatory treatment order (MTO) to find out, among other things, whether there was a contributory link between the offender's condition and his unlawful acts.
Offenders given an MTO will undergo treatment for their mental conditions in lieu of jail time.
The offences took place in 2011, when the victim was 15 years old and he was 36. She finally broke her silence in 2018, and the police were alerted.
In November 2020, the Singaporean man, now 47, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Children and Young Persons Act. Two other charges under the same Act will be considered during sentencing.
Details about the offender and the school cannot be disclosed owing to a gag order to protect the victim's identity.
In earlier proceedings, the court heard that the man joined the school in 2009 and got to know the victim when he taught her the following year.
He was also the teacher in charge of a co-curricular activity and she was its student leader.
They started to share details about their personal lives in September 2010, and met after lessons for coffee in or outside the school.
They also exchanged text messages. When the man was on holiday in London in December 2010, they declared they missed each other.
The victim understood from the conversation that the man wanted her to treat him as a partner. They met more frequently in school when they returned in January 2011.
By the end of February, they were in a relationship and would hold hands when they were alone in school.
They were alone in a room in the school some time between March and May when he grabbed her wrists, held them up against a wall, pressed his body against hers and said: "I can do anything now."
He released her about 15 seconds later, the court heard. The victim recalled feeling confused and embarrassed by his actions, but she did not react or say anything.
They were in the room on another occasion when he touched her private parts, taking her by surprise.
They broke up shortly after the June 2011 school holidays when he told her the relationship was over. But they continued to keep in contact.
The victim returned to the school in 2014 as a relief teacher for six months, during which she developed an eating disorder. The pair finally ceased all communication in November 2016.
In August 2018, she told a female teacher at the school about her relationship with the man. Court documents did not say why she decided to break her silence.
The teacher spoke to the vice-principal, who alerted the principal. The principal made a police report on Oct 2 that year.
In November 2020, the Ministry of Education (MOE) told The Straits Times that the man was no longer an employee by 2018.
Its spokesman added: "MOE 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."
The man is expected to be sentenced in April this year.
For each charge under the Children and Young Persons Act, an offender can be jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.