SINGAPORE — A 32-year-old former Trust Yoga instructor was charged on Tuesday (30 November) with molesting five female students over the course of a year.
Rajpal Singh, who is from India, was handed ten counts of molesting the women, aged between 24 and 29, during classes he taught in 2019 and 2020 at Trust's Telok Ayer premises. The women's identities cannot be disclosed to a gag order imposed by the court.
According to his teacher profile on Trust Yoga's website, Singh was known as Raj Chauhan. The profile, which stated that he is from the Indian city of Rishikesh, was removed after he was suspended from teaching due to allegations of molest.
Singh appeared in court via videolink. Asked by the judge on his response to the charges, Singh said he will not be pleading guilty and will be claiming trial. He added that he needed some time to engage a lawyer as he was currently unemployed.
In response to queries, Trust Yoga said that Singh had left the company in September 2020.
Yahoo News Singapore reported last year that five women, formerly students of Trust Yoga, had filed police reports between 13 July and 29 August last year after Rajpal allegedly touched their private parts while assisting them in yoga positions.
While most said they were uncomfortable with the touches, the students had brushed it aside as they trusted the instructor.
It was only after one of the alleged victims aired her grievances on Instagram that the other women began to think Singh's actions could have been deliberate.
In a series of Instagram stories, the victim detailed two alleged acts of sexual harassment which she said occurred during a class on 11 July last year. She said he had smacked her left buttock when she was in a forward fold, and then molested her again while she was in an inversion pose.
Trust posted a statement on its Facebook page on 3 August last year, stating that Singh had been placed on a leave of absence. The studio later said it had added more CCTV cameras on its premises and refined its standard operating procedures on reporting and complaint resolution.
His case will next be heard in court on 14 December.
Molest carries a jail term of up to two years, or a fine, or caning, or any combination of such penalties.
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