SINGAPORE - A former security guard, who twice molested a 12-year-old girl, was on Monday (March 7) jailed for 2½ years.
Tan Whay Chuan, 57 , pleaded guilty to his two molest charges.
A district court heard that the girl and her mother started staying regularly with Tan's family at his wife's invitation in November 2013, as the mother was having marital problems.
The girl and her mother cannot be named to protect the victim's identity.
On March 15, 2014, the girl's mother went to view a flat with a housing agent. While Tan's wife and son were asleep in the guest room, Tan lured the girl into the master bedroom by asking her to teach his daughter English there.
Later, when Tan's daughter went to join his wife and son in the guest room, Tan, who was wearing only a pair of shorts, locked the master bedroom door.
He molested the girl by touching her private parts, and repeatedly made her touch his groin area.
When she tried to scream, he pinned her down on the bed and used a pillow to cover her mouth.
He then pulled his shorts down and tried to remove the girl's clothes.
At about the same time, the girl's mother came home and could not find her daughter.
She tried opening the master bedroom door, and knocked on it when she found that it was locked. The girl then took the opportunity to run out of the room.
Tan told the mother that the girl had gone to his room because of the air-conditioning there.
Two days later the mother asked the girl what happened and she told her what Tan had done.
The mother took her to a nearby clinic and the doctor advised the mother to make a police report, which she did the next day.
Tan was arrested by police the day the report was made.
Earlier that month, between March 8 and 10, Tan also molested the girl while her mother was not around at night.
On that occasion, the girl was sleeping in the guest room with Tan's wife and son; Tan went up to the girl, pulled down her long pants and panties, and molested her twice.
The girl woke up and pushed Tan away.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tan Soo Tet asked for at least 15 months' jail on each charge, with both sentences to run consecutively, for a total of 30 months' jail.
Tan had "grossly abused his position of trust and responsibility over the victim", said the DPP.
There was also "sheer and utter brazenness" in how he had sexually assaulted the girl in the presence of his sleeping wife and son on the earlier occasion, he said.
And on the later occasion, the DPP added, Tan's attempt to remove the girl's clothes "to commit even more egregious and intrusive sexual acts on the victim ... was only prevented by the fortuitous arrival of the victim's mother".
Tan's lawyer Josephus Tan asked for 12 months' jail per charge for his client.
The lawyer said Tan is remorseful and has no previous convictions.
A psychiatrist had diagnosed Tan with schizoaffective disorder, but found that he was not of unsound mind at the time of the offences. There was also no causal link between his mental illness and the offences.
In passing sentence, District Judge Lim Tse Haw noted the young age of the victim, and the "very intrusive act of molest". He agreed on the need for a deterrent sentence.
The judge jailed Tan for 18 months for the earlier offence and 30 months for the later offence. He ordered the two sentences to run concurrently.
The maximum punishment for using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a person under 14 is five years' jail, a fine and caning. Those above 50 cannot be caned.