Cleaner jailed 14 weeks for groping women on buses

Serial molester was released from jail earlier this year after serving time for similar offence

A serial molester who touched women on public buses was sentenced to 14 weeks' jail on Thursday.

Mohd Fuad Othman, 50, a cleaner, had pleaded guilty to two counts of using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a person.

The court heard that at about 4.15pm on Sept 27 this year, Fuad boarded SBS Transit bus service 16. He sat beside a 21-year-old woman, and placed his bag on his lap.

During the journey, Fuad kept moving towards her. He brushed his shoulder against hers, and his arm touched hers. He used his hand, concealed underneath his bag, to touch the woman's thigh below her shorts.

The woman, who had also placed her bag on her lap, initially thought that it was his bag that was touching her. Later, as she was about to alight from the bus as it approached Joo Chiat Road, she lifted her bag and saw his hand on her thigh.

When confronted, Fuad denied touching her and claimed that he was sleeping. The woman took a picture of him on her mobile phone and made a police report.

The next day, at about 7.20am, Fuad sat beside a 35-year-old woman on SMRT bus service 854. Both Fuad and the woman placed their bags on their laps.

During the journey, Fuad similarly moved his hand, again concealed underneath his bag, to touch the woman's thigh over her knee-length dress.

The woman later moved her bag to adjust her seating position and saw his hand on her thigh. She immediately shouted, hit his hand with both of hers and shouted at Fuad to alight from the bus. He then alighted at a stop along Yio Chu Kang Road.

Fuad was arrested on Sept 30 and admitted his offences to the police on the same day. He also admitted to a third offence - molesting a 20-year-old woman at about 10pm on July 12 on board SBS bus service 70.

In asking for a three-month prison term, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Soo Tet told the court that Fuad was released from two weeks' jail this year for similarly molesting a woman on a public bus.

He added that there were aggravating factors in the latest case, including the "brazen" nature of the two offences, which were committed on consecutive days.

In mitigation, Fuad told District Judge Christopher Goh he would like to apologise to his victims.

The judge jailed him for 14 weeks on each charge, with the sentences to run concurrently, and backdated to his date of remand on Oct 1.

For using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a person, he could have been jailed for two years and fined. No caning was imposed as he is above 50.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2015, with the headline 'Cleaner jailed 14 weeks for groping women on buses'. Print Edition | Subscribe