(File pix) A female teacher was handed two years’ jail for two counts of sexual penetration acts of a minor, and an added nine months for two charges of procuring and committing obscene acts with a juvenile. Today Online Photo

SINGAPORE: A female secondary school teacher who entered into a nine-month relationship with a 15-year-old student and engaged in sexual acts with him in a Geylang hotel was sentenced to 33 months’ jail on Monday (June 10).

She was handed two years’ jail for two counts of sexual penetration acts of a minor, and an added nine months for two charges of procuring and committing obscene acts with a juvenile. Five other charges were taken into consideration.

Both the teacher, who was 26 at the time of the crimes, and the student cannot be named due to a court order.

They were discovered after the boy's mother found love letters, her car keys and other belongings in his room and alerted the school, court documents showed.

The court heard that the teacher had taught the boy mathematics in 2015. At the time, she was under the impression that the boy “hated” her.

But that changed after he joined a uniformed group camp in March 2016. She was assigned as one of the teachers-in-charge of the camp.

During one particular hike with the group, the court heard that she had difficulty scaling a hill when the student decided to help her.

She then asked why they were on such bad terms, but the boy replied that he did not hate her at all.

After that, the pair grew closer and eventually entered into a romantic relationship after she confessed her feelings to him. They also texted each other sexually-charged messages.

They met each other secretly near their homes, watched movies and drove to reservoirs and parks over the next few months and were physically intimate, court documents showed.

On Nov 28, 2016, she arranged for a five-day long staycation with the victim at Super 8 hotel in Geylang, where they performed sexual acts on each other at her direction. To avoid suspicion, the victim told his parents that he was at a camp with the uniformed group.

But sometime after their staycation, the victim’s mother found heart-shaped love letters while cleaning the boy’s room, as well as the teacher’s motor vehicle registration papers, car keys and condominium access card.

The victim later asked his mother whether she would marry someone 11 years older.

Suspicious, his mother notified the school, which then started an investigation into the incident and made a police report. The teacher was arrested in Feb 2017.

The teacher, who had also taught English, has been suspended by the school.

The prosecution, led by deputy public prosecutor Yvonne Poon, argued for a 34-month jail term. Poon said that as an adult, the teacher had not checked her actions and her impulses and had breached the trust given to her.

The teacher was represented in court by T M Sinnadurai of law firm Dhillon & Panoo.

In mitigation, the teacher’s lawyer Sinnadurai said that the relationship was mutual and that his client had not intimidated or blackmailed the boy into a relationship.

“She knew it was inappropriate, but despite being aware, she was not able to shake it off due to her weakness in being decisive and assertive,” he said.

She is also seeking help from a psychiatrist and will never be able to work in the education industry again, said Sinnadurai.

But district judge Christopher Tan said during sentencing that the offences stood out from past cases due to the significant abuse of trust.

“Trust had been (given to) the accused not just by the students, but by the parents and the education system. In embarking on this conduct, the abuse of trust was significant.”

She is on a S$15,000 bail and is due to begin her jail term on June 24.

She could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each charge for performing sexual penetration acts with a minor.

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