Coach jailed 5 years for grooming minor for sex

A freelance badminton coach was sentenced to five years' jail for grooming a 13-year-old boy for sex.
A freelance badminton coach was sentenced to five years' jail for grooming a 13-year-old boy for sex.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

Freelance badminton instructor abused position of trust, corrupted 13-year-old who saw him as mentor, says judge

A freelance badminton coach, who groomed a 13-year-old boy for sex, was sentenced to five years' jail yesterday. The 32-year-old - who cannot be named - was arrested in an open carpark on Oct 24, 2014, after the police spotted him by chance with the naked student in his car.

District Judge Salina Ishak said the accused had abused his position of trust, "corrupted the minor" and exerted "emotional pressure" on the youngster who saw him not just as a coach but also as a role model and a mentor.

The accused had pleaded guilty to 10 of 23 charges, including committing an indecent act with a child and oral sex. Between 2013 and his arrest date, he groomed and pressured the boy to take part in sexual activities with him.

When the boy decided to stop and avoided him in September 2014, they had an argument over the messaging service WhatsApp.

"The accused claimed that the victim had taken him for granted and threatened to sever their relationship," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Randeep Singh Koonar. The accused also asked the boy to return items he had given to him.

On Sept 19 that year, the coach gave the boy one last chance and asked the teen to meet him at Hougang Sports Hall. Afraid he would lose the accused as his coach and mentor, the boy agreed. The coach asked the boy to go into the male toilet where the teen performed oral sex on him. That evening, he asked the boy to take and send him a naked photo of himself over WhatsApp, which the teen did.

The accused said in his written mitigation that he always thought that their indulging in sexual fantasies was a personal matter. He will start his sentence on Feb 15.

The Ministry of Education said in a statement that the services of the coach were immediately terminated across the schools when the case was reported to the ministry.

"MOE expects external vendors hired by schools to hold themselves to high professional standards," it added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2016, with the headline 'Coach jailed 5 years for grooming minor for sex'. Print Edition | Subscribe