Man jailed for molesting girl during 'exorcism'

Man who offered to help 'possessed' teen appeals against his conviction

A 52-year-old man who performed a ritual on a teenage girl to rid her of spirits has been sentenced to a year's jail after she accused him of touching her inappropriately under her clothes.

Mohamed Said Mohamed Sani, a technical officer who treats people with "spiritual disturbances" for free, is appealing against his conviction and sentence for outrage of modesty. He is out on bail.

The girl, whose name has been withheld as there is a gag order on her identity, was 17 when he "treated" her at her uncle's Marsiling flat in June 2011.

The girl's mother had first asked Mohamed Said to treat her elder son in April 2011.

After finding out that she had a daughter and another son, Mohamed Said told her to bring them to see him.

When he met the girl a month later, he asked if she was involved in Kuda Kepang, a traditional Javanese dance that involves dancers being "possessed" and performing feats such as eating glass.

It is considered objectionable by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, or Muis.

When the girl replied that she was in such a dance group, Mohamed Said offered to get rid of the spirits possessing her.

During the exorcism the following month, he told the mother to sit facing the wall and not turn around, no matter what happened.

He then told the girl to sit behind her mother and blindfolded her. There were only three of them in the room.

The girl testified that after he started chanting, she felt spirits entering her; she was conscious but unable to control her hands.

She said she felt him touch her breasts under her T-shirt and bra. He then unbuttoned her jeans and tried to slip his hand under her panties, she said.

She managed to get on her knees and hit her mother's back with her head but he pushed her back to a sitting position. He then called her other family members into the room and continued with the ceremony.

After the ritual, the girl told her mother what happened but the woman told her it was all right. Two days later, when her mother told her to continue with the treatment, she confided in an aunt, who encouraged her to make a police report.

Mohamed Said denied committing the offending acts.

But in a written judgment published on Wednesday, District Judge Eddy Tham said the girl's account was clear and cogent.

The judge accepted her explanation for not fleeing after being molested - she was in shock and wanted to complete the ritual to get rid of the spirits.

On the other hand, Judge Tham said Mohamed Said's credibility was "wanting".

Among other things, the judge noted that his explanation for blindfolding the girl kept shifting and he was prone to vague and illogical answers when questioned.

selinal@sph.com.sg