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Ex-SPH reporter gets 18 months' jail for underage sex

The former Straits Times reporter will serve his sentence on June 24 after pleading guilty to having sex with the then 15-year-old girl.

SINGAPORE: Former Straits Times reporter Eisen Teo Guan Kuan was on Monday (June 9) sentenced to 18 months' jail for having underage sex with a girl he was mentoring.

The 29-year old was part of the SPH team producing two weekly magazines for primary and secondary school students. He mentored about a dozen student journalists at the “IN Crowd” media club, which the victim was part of.

Teo started to take a special interest in the girl, who was 15 at the time of the offences, after reading on her blog that she was depressed.

They became romantically involved in the fourth quarter of 2011. On a date to Fort Canning Park in early 2012, he suggested she perform oral sex on him in one of the toilets.

On June 23, 2012, Teo brought the girl to the Serangoon flat he shared with his wife, after telling the girl he needed her help to paint his house. After introducing her to his wife, he had sex with the victim in the study room while his wife was baking in the kitchen.

District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim told Teo he had been "audacious enough" to have done so while his wife was "metres away".

The victim, who cannot be named, attempted suicide two days later and only told her sister a few months later about sex with Teo. She made a police report in December 2012.

During sentencing, District Judge Hamidah said while Teo had pleaded guilty to his offences at the first opportunity, "leniency was out of the question" based on the aggravating factors. She added that he had clearly taken advantage of a young and immature person.

She also said that as early as 2011, Teo was aware that the girl had been mentally unwell when she confided in Teo about her depressive behaviour, which included thoughts of self harm.

In mitigation, Teo's lawyers said he was remorseful and that he was not a sexual predator.

Teo will start serving his sentence on June 24.

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