Teen raped girl, 13, while on probation

A teenager who raped a 13-year-old girl while he was on probation for previous offences was sentenced to reformative training yesterday.

School dropout Joseph Lorrennzo Chia, 18, began chatting with the girl on Facebook in the middle of last year after they met at a group outing. In August, she agreed to be his girlfriend.

Three days later, he took her to his flat and introduced her to his stepmother.

The girl, who cannot be named due to a gag order, decided to stay at Chia's home for a few days as she was having problems with her mother.

One night, as she was sleeping on a mattress in the living room, Chia lay down beside her and woke her up, telling her that he wanted to have sex with her.

She initially refused as she was worried that his family members might walk in on them, but he coaxed her into having sex.

Meanwhile, the girl's family members lodged a missing persons report with the police.

Chia's biological mother saw a Facebook post about the report, which stated that the girl was with Chia. The biological mum contacted her son and went to the police with him, his stepmother and the girl. The girl's mother then took her to be examined at a hospital, where she told doctors she had consensual sex with Chia. The police were called in.

Under the law, sex with a girl under 14 - with or without her consent - is considered rape.

Last month, Chia pleaded guilty in a district court to statutory rape as well as consumption and possession of methamphetamine - also known as Ice.

He committed these offences while on probation for an earlier set of crimes, including having sex with a minor, theft and making a false police report.

For these offences, he was initially sentenced to reformative training - which can last between 18 months and three years - by a district court in 2011. But the High Court, on his appeal, gave him a chance and placed him on probation for 30 months instead.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy urged the court to impose reformative training as a pre-sentence report did not recommend probation.

She added that Chia was assessed to have a high risk of sexual re-offending.

selinal@sph.com.sg