Ex-zookeeper jailed for taking naked photo of 12-year-old girl

A former zookeeper was jailed for seven months on Tuesday for taking a naked photograph of a 12-year-old girl with his mobile phone. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
A former zookeeper was jailed for seven months on Tuesday for taking a naked photograph of a 12-year-old girl with his mobile phone. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A former zookeeper was jailed for seven months on Tuesday for taking a naked photograph of a 12-year-old girl with his mobile phone.

The 39-year-old man had admitted to committing an indecent act with a child at his home in Ang Mo Kio sometime between April 25 and 26, 2012. He was then 36 years old. He cannot be named due to a gag order.

The court heard the accused was a good friend of the victim's mother. Through her mother, he had numerous interactions with the victim, who would address him as "uncle".

Sometimes, the victim would ask the accused for money, and he would give her $2 to $10.

On April 25 that year, the victim and her friend, a 17-year-old sales assistant, were at the void deck when the victim asked the accused for $300 to buy a cellphone.

He told her to call him later in the day. The victim asked him to call her friend instead, as her prepaid card was out of money.

At about 11.30pm, the victim's friend told her that the accused had called her and asked the victim to go to his house.

As she was uncomfortable going there alone, the victim asked her friend to accompany her. When they arrived, the victim asked the accused again for money. He told them that he could teach them how to make money by becoming a "hostess".

He asked the victim to strip naked. She was at first reluctant but after much persuasion, she agreed.

The accused asked the victim to pose on the bed. He then took a photo of her.

The accused's lawyer S.S. Dhillon had said in his mitigation plea that his client had been an active participant in community services and engaged in counselling for schools. He said the episode had taught the accused a bitter but valuable lesson in life.

The maximum penalty for the offence under the Children and Young Persons Act is a $10,000 fine and five years' jail.