Former headmaster Walter Yau jailed for molesting pupil

Former headmaster admits to repeated sexual abuse of student during private tuition sessions

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 November, 2012, 4:20am

A "courteous and caring" former headmaster has been sentenced to 13 months in jail for repeatedly molesting a pupil he tutored 26 years ago.

Principal Magistrate Ernest Lin Kam-hung said he reduced the jail term from a starting point of two years' imprisonment as Walter Yau Woon-man, 53, had pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault, sparing the victim from "recounting her horrible experiences" in court.

But he said the attacks could not be "forgiven legally and morally" and had "greatly affected the victim's growth".

Yau sexually molested the victim at her home during private tutorials on three occasions in 1986 and 1987. Now 36 and married, she was first molested at the age of about 11. She did not tell anyone about the attacks, but continued to endure the trauma, the court previously heard.

Yesterday, Lin said the woman still suffered the feelings of helplessness that she did 26 years ago.

She revealed the attacks after she learned that Yau had become headmaster at TWGHs Kwan Fong Kai Chi School, a special-needs school in Shek Kip Mei.

The school confirmed Yau had resigned last term.

In mitigation submissions yesterday, defence counsel Adonis Cheung said: "Despite his personal achievements, [Yau] bravely admitted the crimes - which reflected his remorse."

The lawyer said Yau's friends and colleagues described him as a person who took his work seriously, was responsible, courteous, and caring about students and colleagues.

Yau, who listened to yesterday's proceedings through headphones, had managed to persist with his career despite suffering a hearing impairment in 2006, he added.

Before sentencing, Lin said that since the offence had come to light, Yau's relatives and friends had suffered by association, which was "a very serious punishment" for him.

"Whether the sentencing is heavy or light is not the most important thing," the magistrate said. He emphasised that the sentencing must "show this kind of act is not tolerable and serve as a deterrent".