In July last year, a former student at a yoga studio made an allegation online that she was sexually assaulted by an instructor at the studio.
Soon, more women came forward with similar tales of inappropriate touching at Trust Yoga.
The yoga studio later placed the instructor on leave, but the instructor now has to face more serious consequences.
Rajpal Singh, the former Trust Yoga instructor, was charged with 10 counts of outrage of modesty today (29 Nov), but said he plans to contest the charges.
The 32-year-old, who didn’t have a lawyer at the time, said he would not be pleading guilty. He also asked for time to find legal counsel.
Singh is currently on remand and attended the hearing via video call. He said he is unemployed but has a friend who could bail him out.
If convicted of outrage of modesty, Singh could be jailed up to two years, fined, caned, or given any combination of the three penalties.
In a series of Instagram stories last July, the first complainant accused the instructor of molesting her while he was adjusting her position in a yoga pose during a class at the studio.
She claimed that he then “acted as if nothing untoward had happened and just continued teaching the class” after molesting her.
When she lodged a complaint with the studio, she was told that this was not the first time someone had accused him of molestation.
The studio said it would take “strict action”, but the woman claimed that the teacher was still conducting classes afterwards. The studio later explained that they allowed the instructor to continue teaching because they were understaffed.
So, she filed a police report, and soon, other women followed suit; between 13 July and 29 Aug, five women, all former students, lodged police reports against the instructor.
They all claimed that he had touched their chests or other intimate parts of their body.
In response to a statement that Trust put out last year, one student said that the instructor is usually very “professional” and implied that the sexual assault may have just been an adjustment.
But based on what the woman said, this clearly wasn’t the case, as she has been practising yoga for two years and is familiar with adjustments. She said the man had:
In Trust’s statement, which they released in response to the allegations, it said that students who do not wish to be adjusted can pick up a “No Adjustment” card at the entrance of the class beforehand.
It added that there are security cameras on the premises as an additional safeguard.
Featured Image: Facebook (Trust Yoga)