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A Singapore court sentences a married former coach to three years in prison for grooming a teenager for sex

SINGAPORE, May 23 — The badminton coach of a high school team sent sexual messages to several female students and then engaged in sexual acts with one of them when she was 15 years old.

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The married man, now 33, was today sentenced to three years in jail after pleading guilty to two charges of performing sexual acts with a person under 16.

Both the man and the teenager cannot be named under a judicial gag order to protect the identity of the victim.

The court heard that the man had been hired by the high school as a badminton team coach in 2017, but was then fired in June 2019 after reports about his behavior began to emerge.

The school’s principal and the head of the co-curricular activities and physical education department were notified that the coach had sent inappropriate private messages on Instagram to students, including girls who were not on the badminton team.

What happened

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Santhra Aiyyasamy told the court that the student had met the coach when she joined the team in secondary school.

Sometime between March and April 2017, the two began following each other on Instagram, where they began sending private messages and chatting about daily events.

This progressed until the coach sent the teenager home after her badminton training sessions at school and occasionally took her out to eat. She had also conducted free private badminton coaching sessions.

In 2018, when the student was about 14 years old, the coach began holding her hand in public and also hugged and kissed her when they were alone in his car.

The coach’s attention made the student feel special, even though he had told her that they could only have an “unofficial” relationship as he was married, DPP Santhra said.

Some time after the girl turned 15, the coach texted her a list of intimate questions including whether she had kissed anyone and whether she had had sex before.

The court heard that although she felt uncomfortable receiving this from the coach, she was “not surprised” because she knew he liked her.

That’s when the coach asked her if he could have sex with her but she refused.

The coach then persisted, adding that he was “sad because he wasn’t the first to have sex” with her, and she finally agreed.

During this time, the coach knew that the school was investigating him for sending inappropriate private messages to students and had terminated his employment as a school coach.

sexual acts

Sometime between September 10 and 14, 2019, the teen met the coach at a sports club where they engaged in sexual acts, including sexual intercourse.

Before separating, the teen asked the coach why he had removed the condom during sex.

The coach responded with a laugh and told him that “he didn’t feel so good” when he was wearing one.

The coach and the teen continued to communicate via private messages after she expressed concern about getting pregnant, and he told her “don’t worry” and asked if they could meet for sex again.

The teenager refused and the coach suggested meeting up for a private badminton training session. She agreed.

In the session, the trainer kissed her and asked her if she could perform a sexual act on him, to which she agreed.

DPP Santhra said the girl had agreed to engage in sexual acts with the coach because she felt indebted to him for his kindness.

The two eventually broke up after that and only occasionally contacted each other via text messages.

After the two sexual encounters, the teenager began to realize that what the coach had done to her was not right and had sent him a text message telling him that she felt “dirty” because of what had happened between them.

I hoped he would apologize because I wanted closure.

However, the coach refused to apologize and told her that what he was doing was “taking care of her.”

He finally sought help from his school counselors in 2022 and filed a police report.

The coach was arrested on July 28, 2022. He admitted to police having had sexual acts with the teenager, who was 15 years old at the time, in addition to sending her a naked photo of himself through a private Instagram message.

However, it was discovered that all of her text messages with the teenager had been deleted.

He sexually prepared the victim

Seeking a 48-month jail term, DPP Santhra argued that there was a high degree of premeditation and perseverance on the part of the coach during the course of his offending.

“He had set the stage since 2017 to wait for the opportunity to engage in sexual acts by chatting with her daily, showing kind gestures such as sending her home after school training sessions and listening to her while she felt herself.” down,” she said.

“She did all this when he was still her badminton coach.”

The man abused his position of trust as a coach because, even after the school fired him, he continued to communicate with the victim and provided her with private coaching services.

Seeking a more lenient sentence, defense attorney Yamuna Balakrishnan of Tembusu Law LLC, said there was no breach of trust by her client as he was no longer the badminton coach and had limited authority or influence as a coach when he committed the sexual acts. .

“He did not pressure or force her to engage in sexual acts,” Yamuna said.

However, District Judge Lim Tse Haw disagreed, noting that the breach of trust had begun when he sexually groomed the victim with his kind acts.

“There was a high degree of premeditation in the sexual grooming, when she was around 13, which led to him being intimate with her when he held her hands in public and hugged and kissed her in the car,” he said.

For each count of engaging in sexual acts with a person under 16, the coach could have been jailed for up to 10 years, fined or both. – TODAY

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