Youth mentor who sexually abused teen gets 28 months' jail

He met 14-year-old at programme for troubled youth and abused her six times

A young man was supposed to be a mentor on a programme for troubled teens. But he ended up sexually abusing one of them instead.

The 24-year-old customer service officer was sentenced to 28 months' jail yesterday for sexually abusing the girl, then 14, six times.

However, the former youth leader of a non-profit organisation is appealing against his conviction and sentence. Bail of $20,000 has been granted.

The accused came to know the girl, who is now 16, in February 2015, when he was one of the youth leaders at a programme for troubled youth to share their past and express themselves through singing, dancing and acting. The victim was a participant and took a liking to the accused as she found him to be "cool'' and "easy-going'' .

Between Sept 6 and Nov 17 that year, he persuaded her to engage in sexual acts with him.

He was found guilty earlier this month, after an eight-day trial, of making the girl do an obscene act at a multistorey carpark in Eunos Crescent in September 2015; sexually abusing her at his home twice in early October; and three more times at the same carpark in October and November that year.

On Nov 25, she made a police report after confiding about her fear of getting pregnant to a family friend, who told her mother about this.

District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim said she found the victim to be a truthful witness who did not exaggerate her account and was forthright in conceding what she could not remember.

TRUTHFUL WITNESS

She has fared well under intense and thorough cross-examination, and, more importantly, on the material parts, she has stood her ground and her evidence remained intact, unscathed and consistent.

DISTRICT JUDGE HAMIDAH IBRAHIM, on the victim.

"She has fared well under intense and thorough cross-examination, and, more importantly, on the material parts, she has stood her ground and her evidence remained intact, unscathed and consistent," the judge said.

Judge Hamidah said what she found significant was a message the girl sent to the accused after they met on Nov 17, 2015, raising her concerns that she might get pregnant after having unprotected sex with him.

The accused, the judge said, did not dispute receiving such a message but he could not explain why the girl would do such a thing.

He claimed to have responded to the girl's message by telling her that he did not have sex with her and then deleted this message.

The judge said: "Again, it defied logic that, despite being confronted with the fact that the minor had unfairly alleged that he had sex with her, the accused chose to still contact her after Nov 17, 2015, to meet up with her."

In his defence, the accused testified that he kissed and hugged the victim when they met but did not sexually penetrate her in any way.

In passing sentence, Judge Hamidah said these were very serious sexual offences for which she saw very little evidence of remorse.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Raja Mohan prosecuted the case while the accused was represented by Mr Peter Ong.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2017, with the headline 'Youth mentor who sexually abused teen gets 28 months' jail'. Print Edition | Subscribe