Reading teacher pleads guilty to molesting 3-year-old during lesson

Wan Ting Koh
·Reporter
·3 min read
young girl sitting down alone in the dark.
Female toddler in the dark. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A reading specialist employed at a language training centre for children pleaded guilty on Monday (1 February) to molesting a three-year-old female student who attended his weekly classes.

Richard Christopher Monks, 29, was exposed after the victim appeared reluctant to attend her lesson. The girl later told her mother that “Teacher Richard” had touched her and pointed to her buttocks.

The molest had occured during a session when the girl stood up to watch a video clip on Monks’ phone. Monks then slid his hand underneath the victim’s dress to caress her buttocks.

The Briton pleaded guilty to one count of molesting a child under 14 years old. His sentencing was adjourned to Wednesday. The victim and the language centre she attended cannot be named to protect her identity.

Aware of CCTV camera placement

Monks was employed as a reading specialist at the language training and literacy centre, which taught students from two-and-a-half to 12 years old. The victim, then three years and 11 months old, attended his lesson at the centre every Saturday evening. She was the youngest in the class of four to five-year-olds.

On 20 October 2018, while attending her usual lesson with five other students, Monks gathered the entire class to sit at one side of the table to watch a video.

He then placed himself behind the students. Monks was aware of a CCTV camera installed in a corner of the classroom’s ceiling. In his position, he was diagonally opposite the CCTV camera and the students’ upper bodies blocked the view of his hands.

Monks then played a video from his phone and placed it on the table. CCTV camera footage showed that the victim was standing and leaning forward to watch the video and Monks was sitting behind her, slightly to her right.

For around 15 minutes, Monks slid his left hand under the girl’s dress and touched her buttocks, making the victim uncomfortable.

The girl expressed her discomfort by fidgeting and turning back to the look at the accused several times, said the prosecution. However, Monks continued to molest her.

The CCTV footage also captured Monks repeatedly pointing another handphone camera at the girl’s buttocks, but investigations could not determine how many photos or videos he took as Monks claimed that he had lost his phone in Thailand. After the offence, Monks left Singapore for Thailand on 27 October 2018 and returned four days later.

On 27 October 2018, the victim’s parents were preparing to bring their daughter to her usual lesson when the girl appeared reluctant to go. After the offence came to light, the victim’s mother lodge a police report on the same day and stopped sending her the lessons.

Monks was arrested on 1 November 2018 but denied committing the offence in three statements to the police.

For molesting a person under 14, he faces a jail term of up to five years, or a fine, or caning, or any combination of the punishments.

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