SINGAPORE — After meeting an intellectually disabled teenager through his work, a former manager employed by grassroots organisation People’s Association (PA) took advantage of his position to sexually assault her on multiple occasions.
The 64-year-old Singaporean was sentenced on Tuesday (Oct 31) to 17 years’ jail and an additional 12 months’ jail in lieu of caning as he is past the age of 50.
The man had previously pleaded guilty in September this year to three sexual offences including engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor. Another 15 charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Both the man and the victim cannot be named due to a court order to protect the victim’s identity.
At the time of the offences, the accused was 62 years old and the victim was 15, with an intelligence quotient (IQ) of 66. A person with an IQ of 70 or below is usually considered to have an intellectual disability.
GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH GIRL’S FAMILY
According to court documents prepared by Deputy Public Prosecutors Grace Teo and Sruthi Boppana, prior to his sexual offences, the man worked as the sole manager of a Residents’ Network under PA and was responsible for organising events to engage the residents and to assist families in-need.
He met the teenager and her family in 2015, around the time when he first took on this role.
The man developed a good relationship with the family and began to have increased interactions with the girl when her grandaunt took the victim and her sister for the network’s weekly breakfast event from 2020 to 2021.
The girl also volunteered at grassroots events. It was during this time that the accused noticed that the teenager had “grown taller and slimmer” and that she was a slower learner compared to her younger sister.
Some time in late November 2021, the man contacted the girl’s grandaunt to ask if he could take the teen to Jewel Changi Airport to take some photographs.
The grandaunt agreed as the accused had mentioned before that photography was a hobby of his.
After their outing to Jewel on Dec 1, the man and the girl headed back to his personal office at the Residents’ Network.
While they were alone, he brought her to his sofa where he took off her clothes to molest her before taking nine photographs of her bare chest.
Knowing his actions could be caught by the closed-circuit television camera in his office, he adjusted the flap of a cardboard box above his cupboard to obscure the camera’s view.
A few days later on Dec 5, the man sought permission again to take the victim out to Jewel Changi Airport to take “better photographs” of her.
Again he took her to Jewel and then brought her to his office after to sexually assault her by touching her private parts inappropriately.
Around a week later, the man sent a text message to the victim’s grandaunt to ask if the girl could come down to the Residents’ Network and help him with some volunteer work.
The grandaunt agreed and the man went to the girl’s public housing block to fetch her.
As the girl helped to prepare posters and place them up around the neighbourhood, the man took photographs of her helping him and sent those to her grandaunt.
After lunch however, the man brought the teenager back to his office where he proceeded to take off her clothes to sexually assault her.
The man also took 78 photographs of the girl and recorded four videos of his sexual assaults.
CAUGHT WITH HIS PANTS DOWN
About a week later on Dec 20, the man asked for the girl to assist him with volunteer work again.
He then brought her back to his personal office where he sexually assaulted her before asking the girl to touch his private part.
The man also instructed the girl to pose for him in various positions while she was undressed and took 106 photographs capturing her nude body.
He then asked the girl if she had seen videos of people having sexual intercourse and when she answered “no”, the man showed her a pornographic video.
After that, he lowered his pants, exposing his private part and turned to face the girl.
He proceeded to ask the girl to perform a sexual act on him but she refused.
The man then used his private part to touch her face and offered her money to perform the sexual act but she continued to refuse.
It was at this point that the chairman of the Residents’ Network resident committee walked into the accused’s office and saw him standing in front of the teenager with his pants lowered.
The man stopped what he was doing, just as the chairman quickly left the office.
He then led the girl back out to continue placing posters around the neighbouring blocks before instructing her to go home.
That same day, the accused called the chairman to ask for forgiveness and ask him to “keep quiet” about the matter.
He sent a text message to the chairman again the next day to plead for forgiveness and said that he was willing to “paid (sic) back mistake in win win (sic) situation” by giving the girl’s family S$200 a month.
However, the chairman had already escalated the matter to their Constituency Director, who subsequently lodged a police report.
The man was subsequently arrested on Dec 22.
DELIBERATE AND CYNICAL OFFENDING: JUDGE
In delivering her judgement, Justice Mavis Chionh said that the man had shown pre-meditation when he targeted the teenager after having noticed that she was a slower learner than her sister.
She did not agree with the defence counsel’s argument of the man having a “lack of judgement” when he committed his offences, as she said that it downplayed the reprehensible nature of his deliberate and cynical offending.
When considering the level of harm to be severe, Justice Chionh referenced the victim’s impact statement, stating that the harm to the victim was considerable as the girl has experienced inability to sleep, continuous bouts of crying, suicidal ideation and other forms of self-destructive behaviour.
“His arranging of the victim in different poses was a deconstruction of the victim’s dignity,” said Justice Chionh.
She added that the victim has also lost an existing community as the teen does not dare to return to the Residents’ Network for fear of reviving her trauma.
For each charge of sexual penetration of a minor below 16 years of age, the man could have been jailed up to 20 years and fined or caned.