SINGAPORE: A former tuition teacher was sentenced to 15 years’ jail on Friday for sexually abusing seven male students, two of whom were brothers.
In his defence, the 51—year—old man claimed that he was instructed by "a ghost of a boy to perform oral sex on the victims", who were all between eight and 15 years old.
In his sentencing, High Court Judge Woo Bih Li chastised him for abusing his position of authority and that he should "take primary responsibility" for his conduct.
The man, who cannot be named due to a gag order, earlier pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual offences involving two victims in 2011. 29 other counts, which included outrage of modesty and underage sex, were taken into consideration during sentencing.
As the accused is above 50 years of age, he cannot be caned.
According to court documents, he taught English, Maths and Science for 25 years at a tuition centre operated by the Residents Committee in the northern part of Singapore. He preyed on his young charges over three years, beginning from May 2007.
The unmarried man, who is represented by lawyers Anand Nalachandran and Josephus Tan, appeared contrite before the court where his family was also present.
His ruse included asking the boys to stay behind after tuition class when other students had left, or asking them to return to the tuition centre when no else was around.
Noting this, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sabrina Choo said it showed that the offences were "clearly premeditated, calculated and carefully planned."
The accused would then ask his victims to strip, before kissing and performing oral sex on them. He also blindfolded some of his victims, and even took obscene photographs and videos of them.
He was arrested in November 2009 and has been remanded since.
In mitigation, Mr Nalachandran brought up his client’s previous years of voluntary service including receiving an appreciation certificate from YMCA in 1983. Describing his client as "a good man who had done bad things", he urged the court to consider "the good work" his client had done over the years.
During a psychiatric examination, the accused also claimed that he was instructed by a "ghost" to commit the offences, but he did not always comply with the instructions.
To this, DPP Choo pointed out that there had been a "conscious choice" on the part of the accused to commit the offences, and his actions were voluntary. She also condemned him for treating his students as his "personal sex toys", adding that he had caused "irreparable emotional harm" to them.
One of them was said to have suffered "some emotional turmoil and sexual confusion" as result of the sexual abuse.
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