Teacher who chatted with male pupil sent child and teen girl lewd messages after leaving school

SINGAPORE: A male primary-school student care teacher, who got to know an 11-year-old boy from his workplace, sent him lewd messages after leaving the school in 2020.

In 2021, Tristan Teo Hong Xian sent a picture of his genitals to a 13-year-old girl, who was the boy’s schoolmate. He also sent her sexually charged messages in 2022.

On June 13, Teo, 32, was sentenced to seven weeks’ jail after he pleaded guilty to two counts of sending sexual messages to minors.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of sending the girl an obscene picture.

He started working as a student care teacher at the primary school in April 2018. Among other things, he was tasked to look after pupils whose parents were not at home when school ended.

Teo, who has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, would supervise, tutor and carry out activities with the children.

He got to know the 11-year-old boy, who was not a pupil in his class. Teo was on holiday in a foreign country in December 2019 when he posted a picture of himself there.

The boy, who was also on holiday there, then added him on Instagram and they started chatting.

Deputy Public Prosecutor R. Arvindren told the court that initially, the chats were non-sexual. But this changed after Teo left the school in February 2020.

He was chatting with the boy six months later when he asked questions about the boy’s private parts.

Teo later admitted to investigators that he “felt curious and was having a lot of sexual desires”.

The DPP added: “He also admitted to the police that he wanted to hold back his sexual desire but gave in to the temptation.”

Teo got to know the 13-year-old girl around August 2021 and communicated with her via platforms such as Instagram and WhatsApp.

Some time between August and December that year, he asked her if she wanted to trade pictures of their private parts.

She refused to do so but allowed him to share his picture. Teo sent her a one-time-view photo of his genitals.

“The accused admitted that he did this, as he was sexually aroused,” said the prosecutor.

Teo had another conversation with the girl on WhatsApp in June 2022. He sent her a message, asking if she would allow him to send her pictures of his private parts.

She blocked him on June 13, 2022.

That same month, she created a second Instagram account under a fake identity and used it to speak to Teo.

The DPP said: “Investigations revealed that (she) did this, as she wanted to gather evidence on how the accused had been sending sexual messages to herself and the (boy).

“The accused knew that the person behind this Instagram handle was a minor under 16 and engaged in sexual communication with the account holder.”

The court heard that Teo was initially unaware that the girl was behind the account.

On June 22, 2022, the police received a report stating that he had sent pictures of his private parts to two children. Teo was charged in court later that year.

His bail was set at s$10,000 on June 13 and he is expected to surrender at the State Courts on June 27 to begin serving his sentence. - The Straits Times/ANN

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