13 months' jail for man who fled to Tanzania after molesting employee in 2011

SINGAPORE - A man who ran an Orchard Road massage parlour molested his part-time employee in 2011 and fled to Tanzania before returning to Singapore seven years later.

Court documents did not state why the offender, now 43, came back in 2018 but he was caught and later claimed trial to one count of molestation.

District Judge Marvin Bay found him guilty of molesting the woman and sentenced him to 13 months' jail on Monday (June 29).

The man cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the victim's identity.

Referring to her only as "Ms C", Judge Bay said that the man had employed her to sell "Merlion keychains".

During the trial, the woman testified that she was alone with her boss in the shop around 9.45pm on Feb 22, 2011, when he offered her a permanent position as his assistant.

After Ms C declined the offer, the court heard that the man noted that she had a tummy and told her that he had equipment in the shop that could help "tone" her abdomen.

After that, he placed a belt-like device around her waist, switched on a machine and told her that the device was supposed to emit heat.

Ms C added that the man then applied some oil onto her tummy and she told him that she had a back problem.

On hearing this, he asked her to lie face down on a "magnetic bed" which could "improve" blood circulation and she complied.

The court heard that he pinned Ms C down and molested her soon after. A struggle ensued and when she pushed him off, she noticed that he was clad in only his underwear.

Ms C testified that when she tried to leave, she realised that the shop's glass doors were locked.

She asked the man to open them and the pair left the premises together. She later met a male friend and told him about her ordeal.

During the trial, the offender told the court that Ms C was the one who had made a move on him, causing him to become aroused.

He had also claimed that there was "no pushing or struggling" during the "intimate interaction".

The court heard that Ms C did not immediately alert the police about what had happened as the offender's mother had asked her to excuse her son.

But Ms C changed her mind after learning about the mother's death, reportedly by suicide, later that year. She finally lodged a police report on Nov 9, 2011, the court heard.

The man, who was unrepresented, told the court on Monday that he left Singapore in March 2012 before returning in December 2018.

He also said that he needs to return to Tanzania as soon as possible as he has a 3½-year-old son and a wife there.

The man is also accused of molesting a second victim and the pre-trial conference for this case will be held on July 21.

For molestation, an offender can be jailed for up to two years and fined or caned.

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