Chief executive convicted of sexually assaulting son's classmate; bail revoked

SINGAPORE - A 48-year-old chief executive was found guilty on Monday (Aug 6) of sexually assaulting his son's nine-year-old classmate during a sleepover after a Halloween party in 2015.

Sentencing of the foreign national was adjourned to Friday. His lawyer indicated that he would be appealing against conviction.

The man faces more than eight years' jail and at least 24 strokes of the cane for two counts of sexual assault by penetration of a minor and one count of aggravated molestation.

He was remanded in custody after the court granted the prosecution's request to revoke his bail of $60,000.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Christina Koh argued that the man was a flight risk as his wife and three sons have returned to their home country.

The DPP also highlighted that the couple have assets amounting to US$3 million (S$4.1 million). If he were to abscond, he could afford to live comfortably and compensate his bailor, she said.

The court, however, denied the prosecution's request to lift an existing gag order on the man's identity. Justice See Kee Oon said the risk remains that the man's name could lead to the identification of the victim, now 12 years old.

Although the man's sons and the victim are no longer attending the school, his lawyer Selva K. Naidu noted that his sons still keep in contact with their school friends. The lawyer added that the man has an unusual surname and his sons have more than 1,200 Instagram followers between them.

The victim was a classmate of the youngest son. He was one of the children who were invited to the accused's home for a trick-or-treat party, followed by a sleepover.

He slept on the upper deck of a bunk bed while the son slept on the lower deck.

The boy testified that in the night, he pretended to be asleep when he saw the accused entering the room. The man stepped on the lower bunk and touched his genitals, he said.

After the man performed oral sex on him twice, the boy decided he did not want to stay any longer. He packed his belongings and asked to leave.

When his father came to pick him up, the boy told him what the accused had done to him.

Justice See, in finding the man guilty, noted that prior to the offences, the boy bore no animosity towards the man and had no reason to falsely incriminate him.

In fact, the boy, who had stayed over on two previous occasions, thought of him as "nice, funny and trustworthy".

The judge found the boy to be a frank and forthcoming witness, whose testimony withstood vigorous cross-examination.

On the other hand, Justice See was not convinced by the accused's "strained" defence, which was largely premised on "afterthoughts and conjecture" and efforts to undermine the boy's credibility.

The accused had portrayed the boy as a hyper-sexualised child who had fabricated or imagined the sexual acts due to his "familiarity with sexual matters", a questionable game he played in school, the "scary" atmosphere of Halloween, and attention-seeking behaviour.

Separately, the man faces charges of molestation and attempted sexual assault of an eight-year-old boy in 2011.