SINGAPORE: A teacher was jailed for six months on Tuesday (Sep 3) for kissing a 14-year-old student twice on the lips.
The 35-year-old man, who cannot be named due to gag orders issued by the court, had pleaded guilty to one charge of sexually exploiting a young person.
The court heard that the man taught students from both lower and upper secondary at a school that was not identified in court documents.
He also was in charge of an unnamed Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) that the victim attended. He got to know the victim in the course of his work as a CCA teacher-in-charge, and sent text messages to the girl.
Before the incident occurred, the pair met a few times, first for haircuts and coffee on Jul 18, 2018, then for tea at a mall a week later.
On Jul 28 last year, the teacher chaperoned a group of students, including the victim, on an outing to a play.
After the show ended, the teacher asked the victim to have dinner with him at a Japanese restaurant, and she agreed.
After the meal, the girl sat next to the man as he requested, and he placed his arm over her shoulder, before leaning in and kissing her on the lips.
"The victim was shocked and nervous," the prosecution said. "She felt embarrassed and scared. Unsure of how to react, she burst out laughing."
They left the restaurant and the girl said she wanted to go home. However, at a flight of stairs, the man leaned in again suddenly and kissed the girl on her lips.
This rendered the teenager speechless, the court heard.
The girl later went to her father's home after the teacher accompanied her part of the way.
She later told a teacher that the accused had touched and kissed her a few times without her consent in July 2018 and that she felt uncomfortable.
A female teacher at the victim's school lodged a police report about a month later and the accused was arrested.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ben Mathias Tan had asked for at least eight months' jail, saying minors should be protected from sexual exploitation and that there should be adequate deterrence against such acts.
"From the outset my client would like to say there's no excuse for what he has done," defence lawyer Raphael Louis said, adding that his client had admitted to the offence.
He could have been jailed for up to five years, fined up to S$10,000, or both, for his offence under the Children and Young Persons Act.