Teen who abused 2 boys pleads against reformative training

A teenager who admitted to sexually abusing two young boys at a welfare home yesterday pleaded to a court not to send him for reformative training.

The 16-year-old told Principal District Judge Bala Reddy that he had "enemies'' at the Reformative Training Centre (RTC) and that he was worried about being involved in fights there.

The thin-looking accused, who was unrepresented, said he did not wish to mix with "bad company" and be like them.

Asked by the judge if he knew what RTC was, he said "reformative training".

The judge replied: "Yes. Those who go there must come out as good persons, reformed."

Asked why would he fight with people at the centre, the accused said he had heard that there were "many bad people in RTC''.

Earlier, he had said: "Many of the people hate me."

He asked the court to give him a chance by calling for a probation report so that he could spend Hari Raya with his family. He said he regretted his offences and promised to be a better person in future.

He had been referred to the home by the Ministry of Social and Family Development because his parents, who are divorced, are unable to care for him.

He pleaded guilty to three of nine charges - two of sexually abusing the boys, an 11-year-old and a 12-year-old, as well as committing an obscene act on the older one who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and borderline IQ.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jesintha Veijayaratnam said the 11-year-old boy was getting ready to sleep on Oct 31 last year when the accused, his dormitory mate, repeatedly signalled to him and pointed at his private parts.

The boy understood the accused wanted him to perform a sexual act. He ignored him but was forced to give in as a result of the accused's persistence. They went to the toilet where the boy performed sexual acts on the accused.

In the older victim's case, the court heard that when he went to the toilet one afternoon between September and December 2014, the accused repeatedly called out to him to go to him in the shower area. At first, the victim declined. He eventually gave in out of fear. The accused made the victim perform a sexual act on him.

Between September 2014 and last October, the older victim had performed a total of seven sexual acts on the accused.

The prosecutor had asked for an RTC suitability report to be called. She said the accused had systematically targeted two vulnerable children for his own sexual pleasure.

The offences were committed at a welfare home, which is supposed to be a "safe haven" for young people at risk, she added.

The judge postponed sentencing pending probation and RTC reports.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2016, with the headline 'Teen who abused 2 boys pleads against reformative training'. Print Edition | Subscribe