By Crystal Chan
UPSET that he was spurned by a lecturer after a brief torrid affair, a tertiary student turned to the Internet to smear her reputation.
The year-long liaison, which took place more than 10 years ago, ended when the lecturer's husband learnt about it.
Unlike the recent case when a 32-year-old teacher was jailed 10 months for having sex with an underage student, the lecturer did not break any law as her lover was not underage.
But the fallout was almost as devastating, resulting in two court actions over the years.
To try to salvage her marriage, the lecturer ended the affair.
But her husband still filed for divorce, citing adultery and naming the student as a co-respondent in the divorce papers.
If the marriage break-up was not bad enough, she then suffered the ignonimy of having salacious details of the affair splashed on online forums.
The student's bitterness over the end of the affair was such that years later, he continued taking his revenge on her.
The student, who graduated here around 1996, felt that she had used him and then dumped him, alleging that she even filed a police report against him for harassment.
In one online forum posting, he wrote that many male students were attracted to the lecturer because of her striking looks.
He claimed she was unhappy in her marriage and that they had sex in various places at the institution as well as her home.
Sources told The New Paper that the affair turned sour after it was uncovered by private investigators hired by the lecturer's husband.
She ended the affair to try to save her marriage, but it was all in vain.
Then, as a fallout of the Internet smearing, the institution learnt of the affair and asked the lecturer to leave three years ago.
The institution also went all the way to the High Court to seek an injunction to prohibit the student from talking about the affair.
Lawyer Nicholas Cheong, who is not involved in the case, said the Internet postings probably affected the reputation of the institution and it had to do damage control.
He said: 'The institution has a name to protect, especially when it's known for certain courses. The last thing it would want is for people to remember it as a place where a lecturer had an affair with a student.
'Nothing sticks like bad news so the institution had to protect its image. Going to court was the only option as it no longer had the right to discipline the student.
'The institution didn't do anything wrong and the court probably agreed that its image shouldn't be tarnished. Otherwise, the injunction wouldn't be granted as everyone is entitled to freedom of expression.'
The student had gone as far as to post the lecturer's personal details and the serial number of her divorce proceedings in online forums and encouraged netizens to contact her.
It also seemed that he had been watching the lecturer's movements, as he posted details of where she parked her car on campus and even the time she got home.
He found out where the lecturer is now working and posted this information on the Internet too.
The student invited netizens to e-mail him if they wanted 'hard-copy evidence' of his affair, including documents related to her divorce.
Some netizens asked for the lecturer's photo, which the student offered to e-mail to individual requesters.
However, other netizens criticised the student for his vindictive actions.
One netizen called him a 'sore loser' and said it was time for him to let go as the affair ended nearly a decade ago.
Others told him that he had no right to defame the lecturer.
Mr Cheong said the lecturer could report the student to the police for harassment as he had posted her personal details on the Internet and urged others to question her about the liaison.
He added that if the student continues to talk about the affair, he could be charged with contempt of court, which could result in a jail term and a fine.
The lecturer now teaches at another institution under a different name.
Counsellors told The New Paper on Sunday that it is not uncommon for one party to hurt the other after a break-up.
Mr Harry Low, a counsellor with the National University of Singapore, said: 'In the midst of their anger, disappointment and loss, they may feel desperate and find some way to get back at the other party.
'Students are also human beings and if they are serious about the relationship, the situation is the same as with any married or courting couple.'
This article was first published in The New Paper.