Singapore

Former guardian gets 10 years’ jail for sexual abuse

A former guardian at a primary school's student care centre, who was convicted of 13 charges of having sexually abused eight boys over two years, was sentenced to 10 years' jail yesterday.

Neither the 66-year-old man nor the victims, then aged seven to 12, can be named due to a gag order.

He was convicted of 11 counts of molesting the eight pupils, and two counts of sexual penetration of a minor.

The man, who escaped being sentenced to caning because he is over 50, is appealing against the conviction and sentence. Bail of $100,000 was allowed.

The man was arrested on Sept 17, 2013, a day after a police report was made by an employee of the centre.

District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim said last month that as the man's defence was that he did not commit any of the offences, it was in a sense a case of his word against that of the victims.

Having had the benefit of observing all the eight boys on the stand, she found them to be "forthright and candid" witnesses.

She said his conduct of contacting some of the boys after he was suspended on Sept 13, 2013, "smacks of a blatant attempt" to try and cover up his tracks.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Choong Hefeng had asked for not less than 12 years' jail to be imposed.

He said the children had looked up to the man who had supervised them, and he abused the trust.

Eight other stood down charges were withdrawn and the man was cleared of them.

He could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined for each sexual penetration.

The maximum penalty for molesting a person under 14 years old is five years' jail, a fine, caning or any combination of these punishments.

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