10 months behind bars for sex with 15-year-old schoolgirl

A waiter who had sex with a secondary school student he befriended online was sentenced to 10 months' jail yesterday.

Lee Zhi Ming, 25, admitted to one of two charges of sexual penetration of a minor at his flat in Bendemeer Road in March 2016.

The court heard that the victim, who was 15 at the time, got to know Lee through an online dating application known as OkCupid. They exchanged phone numbers and chatted with each other on messaging platform WhatsApp. He knew that she was a secondary school student.

They met for the first time one afternoon at Nex mall in March 2016. She was in her school uniform.

After having lunch there, they went to his home where he had unprotected sex with her.

Subsequently, the girl and Lee were found to have chlamydia, following a sexually transmitted infection screening. The girl made a police report on June 13 that year. The sexually transmitted disease could not be attributed to Lee conclusively, the court heard.

Lee's lawyer Sankar Saminathan said in mitigation yesterday that it was his client's first offence. The accused was depressed after breaking up with his girlfriend, the lawyer said, adding that he was lonely and was looking for a serious relationship with the victim but it did not work out.

Mr Sankar said Lee had started to attend church and hoped to turn over a new leaf.

He successfully applied for Lee to defer sentence until Feb 19 so that he could celebrate Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb 16 and 17 this year.

Lee could have been jailed for up to 10 years and/or fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2018, with the headline '10 months behind bars for sex with 15-year-old schoolgirl'. Print Edition | Subscribe