SINGAPORE – Secretly attracted to his former colleague, a married male teacher created a social media account in her name and impersonated her for two years.
He used the account to chat with current and former students of the school about sex, including what sexual activities the students wanted to do with the female teacher.
The matter came to light only when the police found photos of the female teacher on a student’s phone while investigating a complaint he had lodged about a different case.
On Thursday, the 38-year-old man was jailed for 16 weeks after pleading guilty earlier to a charge under the Protection from Harassment Act.
Both teachers cannot be named to protect the victim and students’ identities.
Court documents said the teachers worked in the same school between 2011 and 2014. While they taught different subjects, they became close friends.
In 2014, the male teacher left the school for a new posting. However, he kept in touch with the victim by messaging her and meeting her in person.
But both their spouses became uncomfortable with this relationship, and they stopped contacting each other by 2016.
But the man had feelings for the victim, and missed her.
In December 2018, he created a social media account in her name and uploaded photographs of her to the account. They included some which he had taken without her knowledge when they were colleagues.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Huo Jiongrui said the man had uploaded them to the account because he wanted to look at her photographs, but she had blocked him from her real account.
Between December 2018 and February 2021, the man used the account to hold 589 conversations with different people, most of whom were current or former students of the school.
Of these conversations, 49 were sexual in nature.
He acted as a sexually active older woman, and imagined himself as a student receiving sexual advances from this woman.
He had often fantasised about having sex with older women, said DPP Huo.
Court documents described two students whom the accused contacted through the account.
The boys believed it was the female teacher who was communicating with them, and one sent sexually explicit photos.
The police arrested the man in February 2021. Since then, he has been suspended by the Ministry of Education (MOE) from all duties and has been drawing half-month’s salary.
In response to The Straits Times’ queries, an MOE spokesman confirmed on Sept 7 that the male teacher is no longer teaching in any school.
“MOE takes a serious view of staff misconduct and will take disciplinary action against those who fail to adhere to our standards of conduct and discipline, including dismissal from service,” said the spokesman.
More than two years after the arrest, the female teacher said in her victim impact statement that she has a constant fear that former students would have talked about her.
She also suffered sleepless nights, believing the contents of the conversations in her name would continue to circulate online.
Said DPP Huo: “She continues to fear what the accused is capable of doing next. She hopes he will leave her alone, and hates him now, despite them being friends and colleagues before.”
The DPP called for the male teacher to be jailed for between seven and eight months, noting that his motive for stalking the victim in such a manner was highly egregious.
Said DPP Huo: “He role-played as a heavily sexualised version of the victim from his fantasies, and then imagined himself as his young targets to enjoy the pleasure of his own artificial advances. This way, his young targets were nothing more than a prop for his perversions.”
However, District Judge Chua Wei Yuan said this was overstated.
Said Judge Chua: “On the spectrum of motives for a stalking offence, this is neither at the most malicious end, nor at the most benign end of the scale.”
The judge described the acts as repugnant, but said it did not appear that the students were unwilling participants in the conversations.
The prosecution is considering appealing against the length of the sentence.
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