Selina Lum, 15 March 2014, Straits Times

Paedophile gets 13 years’ jail, caning

A PAEDOPHILE, twice convicted of molesting children in 2001 and 2010, was yesterday punished a third time for sexual offences against the young.

This time, Terence Thaver, 48, a cafe manager, was sentenced to 13 years in jail and 12 strokes of the cane for performing oral sex on a primary school pupil in 2008.

The offences came to light only in 2012 after the boy’s tutor found pornographic materials in his mobile phone. The boy, now 16, told the tutor about the history of Thaver’s sexual acts with him and later made a police report.

It was revealed in court that the bespectacled, small-built Thaver never had sexual relations with an adult. He pleaded guilty yesterday to three charges of sexual assault, while four other charges – two for sexual assault and two for committing an indecent act – were taken into consideration.

Represented by lawyer Kesavan Nair, Thaver personally read out a lengthy letter in court, apologising to the boy and his family, and promising to seek help for his paedophilia. Choking with emotion as he referred to his 84-year-old mother in the public gallery, he said: “She is the best mother anyone can ask for, but sadly, I am not the ideal son.

“My pain is in seeing her now, worrying and suffering for me, knowing that we may never have a chance to be reunited when I am free.”

Justice Chan Seng Onn said this was a case where the accused showed true remorse. The judge said he hopes Thaver will be able to overcome his psychiatric disorder despite his previous actions and his likelihood of re-offending.

Thaver was a primary school teacher when he molested four 10-year-old girls in school between 1999 and 2000. He was sentenced in 2001 to eight years in jail and 24 strokes of the cane. He was given an early release from jail in 2006 for good behaviour.

But in 2008, he hugged and kissed a boy, eight, at a neighbourhood outreach centre where he worked. He was sentenced to one year in jail in 2010.

In the current case, Thaver befriended the boy at the end of 2007 at a bookshop near his home. The boy, whose mother ran the shop, hung out there after school. Thaver offered to help the boy with his homework as he was a former teacher.

The boy would visit Thaver’s flat to do homework or play computer games, and he was 10 when Thaver started touching him inappropriately. He moved on to perform oral sex on him. The boy did not tell anyone about it, and continued visiting Thaver’s flat.

A government psychiatrist said there was no evidence the boy suffered any adverse psychological effects from the acts.

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