SINGAPORE — Despite being caught by his mother when he sexually assaulted his younger sister, a teenager later molested another younger sister as she slept. Both victims were aged under 14 at the time.
After the first sexual assault, the mother scolded the teenager and installed a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera to try to stop his behaviour.
He stopped abusing the first sister, but went on to molest the other.
The teenager pleaded guilty on Tuesday (Oct 17) to two counts of committing sexual offences on a person aged under 14 years.
The judge has called for reports on his suitability for probation and reformative training. He is set to return to court on Nov 30 for sentencing.
Reformative training means that a young offender would have to undergo a comprehensive rehabilitation programme in a closed and structured environment in a Reformative Training Centre for a minimum period of six or 12 months.
Probation means that the young offender would still be able to carry on with their normal daily activities but would be supervised by a probation officer for up to three years.
The teenager and his sisters cannot be named due to a court order to protect the victims’ identities.
The court heard that at the time of the offences, the teenager and his two sisters were sleeping on mattresses in the living room.
Sometime in 2018, he started to molest one of his younger sisters at night while she was asleep.
Whenever she woke up, he would pretend to have touched her innocently just to wake her up.
In 2019, going beyond inappropriate touching, the teenager slipped his hand under her shorts and underwear to sexually abuse her. She was then aged 11 or 12.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) R Arvindren said that when the sister woke up, the teenager would stop what he was doing and return to his mattress.
About two weeks later, the teenager was caught by their mother touching his younger sister inappropriately.
She scolded him and installed a CCTV camera in the living room to monitor his behaviour at night.
The teenager stopped sexually assaulting his first victim but molested his second younger sister instead.
He first started to molest his other sibling in 2020 when she was 11 by touching her chest and private part while she was asleep.
On Aug 27, 2021, he molested his second victim while she slept and even though she woke up to try and push him away with her elbow, he did not stop.
His offences came to the police’s attention in 2021 when one of his sisters revealed to her then boyfriend that she had been molested by her brother.
She filed a police report after a teacher alerted the school with the information from her boyfriend.
The teenager was arrested on Aug 31, 2021, and released on bail.
‘DETERRENCE IS KEY’
The prosecution urged Deputy Principal District Judge Kessler Soh to call for a reformative training suitability report, but objected to the defence’s request for a probation suitability report as it was not a realistic sentencing option.
DPP Arvindren said that deterrence is the key sentencing principle in this case because the teenager’s offending had persisted and he had targeted his sisters multiple times.
Even after he was caught by their mother, he went on to target a second sister, which clearly showed that he did not learn his lesson.
Defence counsel Tan Su, who represented the teenager, argued that both a reformative training suitability report and probation suitability report should be obtained because rehabilitation is the dominant consideration.
Ms Tan highlighted that the teenager has increased familial supervision over him and does not demonstrate risk factors as he has remained crime-free since his last offence.
The judge noted that the teenager is still young and that it would be helpful to call for a probation suitability report in addition to a reformative training suitability report.
Anyone convicted of sexually assaulting a person under 14 years of age could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.
Those guilty of using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a person under 14 years old could be jailed for up to five years, fined or caned, or with any combination of these punishments.