Piano teacher accused of sexually assaulting 5-year-old student pleads guilty to reduced charge

Piano teacher accused of sexually assaulting 5-year-old student pleads guilty to reduced charge

child playing piano
(Photo: Unsplash/Siniz Kim)

SINGAPORE: A part-time piano teacher originally accused of sexual assault on Tuesday (Apr 23) pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of molesting a five-year-old girl he taught.

He admitted to molesting her during a piano lesson at a studio – which was not named in court documents – in November 2016 after telling her he had to correct her posture.

The 21-year-old man cannot be named due to a gag order preventing the publication of any details that will identify the victim.

He had previously taken lessons from the studio owner from 2013, completing his piano diploma and GCE Normal (Academic) Level exams two years later.

He began working as a part-time piano teacher at the studio, taking on students from around June 2016, whom he would teach at the studio or at their homes.

The victim began lessons at the studio when she was four, and started taking lessons from the accused after her previous teacher left. She was the youngest of the seven students he taught and was the only girl he taught individually.

On the evening of Nov 7, 2016, the girl's mother took her to the studio for her weekly piano class.

He held the class in a small room on the second floor of the studio, behind a closed door, the court heard.

During the lesson, he told the girl that he had to correct her posture while she was playing the piano. He then molested her and told her to squeeze her thighs together tightly, and to "remember this".

The child felt pain and said "ouch" several times, asking the man to stop. He apologised each time, but did not remove his hand from inside her undergarments.

After the class, the girl's grandfather came to pick her up, but she did not tell him what happened as "grandpa is a boy", and she did not think anything wrong had occurred.

Her mother found out about the incident when she checked on the child later that night. The girl was taking an unusually long time in the toilet, and her mother found her crying as she felt pain while trying to urinate.

She then told her mother what happened and her father called the police, who arrested the piano teacher.

A medical report found that the girl had a scratch on her private parts and a small abrasion, but her hymen was intact.

After the incident, the child kept asking her mother if "it would always hurt", and whether her injuries would get better. She also stopped playing the piano on her own like she used to, and had several episodes of bed-wetting after being molested.

Mitigation and sentencing for the teacher were adjourned to a later date. He originally faced a more serious charge of sexually assaulting the child, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

For using criminal force on the five-year-old girl to outrage her modesty, he could be jailed for up to five years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these punishments.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)