SINGAPORE — A 32-year-old former yoga instructor intends to challenge 10 counts of indecent exposure, after he was charged on Tuesday (November 30) with assaulting five women at a yoga studio in Telok Ayer.
Rajpal Singh, an Indian national, told the court through a Hindi interpreter that he would not plead guilty and would contest the charges.
On Monday, police said a 32-year-old man – whom they did not name – allegedly assaulted five women between the ages of 24 and 38 at yoga classes in 2019 and last year.
Court documents released on Tuesday said Singh allegedly touched his chest or other private parts of his body at a branch of Trust Yoga in the central business district.
None of the alleged victims could be identified due to a court order to protect their identity.
When asked by District Judge Lorraine Ho if he had an attorney, Singh replied that he did not and that he needed time to hire one.
He attended the hearing via video call.
Singh, who is on remand, added that he was unemployed but had a friend who could bail him out.
Trust Yoga, a yoga studio with outlets in Telok Ayer and Tampines, came under the spotlight in July last year after a former student alleged in a viral social media post that she had been sexually assaulted in one of the studios.
This later prompted more women to come forward with allegations that they, too, had been sexually assaulted by an instructor.
Trust Yoga said in a statement in August last year that the instructor allegedly involved in the incident had agreed to go on leave after an internal investigation and was cooperating with authorities over the matter.
The following month, Yahoo News Singapore reported that the five women, all former students, filed a complaint with the police between July 13 and August 29 of the same year.
They alleged that the instructor touched them inappropriately while helping them do their yoga poses.
Throughout the saga, the name of the instructor has never been mentioned.
Singh is not the first yoga instructor to be charged with indecent assault in recent years.
In April 2018, yoga instructor Rakesh Kumar Prasad was jailed for nine months and fined S$1,000 for assaulting a student.
Rakesh was found guilty of touching and pinching a student’s chest while she was alone in a studio at the Real Yoga store in Tampines Grande.
His prison term was later increased to one year and he was given three strokes of the cane, after prosecutors appealed.
Singh will return to court on December 14.
If found guilty of indecent exposure, he could be jailed for up to two years, fined, caned or a combination of the three penalties.