SINGAPORE (CNA) – A freelance dance instructor engaged to teach a form of dance at primary schools molested two boys, sometimes in front of other students or teachers.
The crimes went undiscovered until 2020, when both boys took sexual education classes and told their family or teacher about the offences.
The 42-year-old offender was sentenced yesterday to three years and 10 months’ jail and six strokes of the cane.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of molesting a minor, with another two charges taken into consideration.
A gag order is in force preventing the publication of anything that could identify the victims.
The court heard that the first victim, who was nine or 10 at the time, was a member of the dance co-curricular activity in school in 2016.
The Primary 4 student was preparing for a dance performance in the school dance room in mid-2016 when the accused, his instructor, went over to him.
He began adjusting the boy’s dance costume before suddenly molesting the boy.
The boy froze in fear and did not resist, and carried on with the performance after the incident.
When the show ended, the boy returned to the dance room for a debriefing with his fellow students, two teachers and the accused.
Halfway through the session, the accused sat behind the victim and suddenly wrapped his arms around his waist.
He molested the victim for 15 to 20 seconds, who again froze in fear.
The boy was traumatised and knew the touching was inappropriate and wrong. However, he did not know how to speak about it with other adults.
It was only in end-August 2020, when he went through a sexual education class, that he decided to tell his teacher and mother about the inappropriate actions.
He lodged a police report in September 2020.
The second victim was 10 and in Primary Four in 2019 when he was a member of the dance CCA in school. After a dance performance in school on November 15, 2019, the victim went to the boys’ toilet to change out of his costume.
The accused, who was also his dance instructor, followed him in and asked the boy to follow him into a cubicle.
While in the cubicle, the accused molested the boy for up to five minutes.
After this, the accused went to the music room with the boy. Although the boy was uncomfortable with the incident, he did not tell anyone, as he was “not sure if it was alright for his dance instructor to fondle him in this way”, the prosecutor said.
A few months later in February 2020, this victim was in a school bus with the accused and other teachers on the way to a performance.
The boy sat near the back of the bus with a friend. However, the accused asked the boy to move to the back row with him and the boy complied. The accused began molesting the boy for about 20 minutes, stopping only when the bus was about to arrive at the performance venue.
In August 2020, the boy went through two sessions of sexual education and learned that it was wrong for someone to touch his private parts without his approval.
After the classes, he told his teacher what happened and the matter was escalated to the school management. He subsequently lodged a police report.