Coach who duped 2 underaged girls into having sex with him gets 31 years' jail, caning for rape

SINGAPORE - A sports coach got a 12-year-old girl to send him her nude photographs, which he later used to dupe her into engaging in various sexual acts with him by creating a fictitious persona he called the "China man".

Leonard Kannan, 47, told the girl that the "China man" had found his mobile phone containing her photos and had threatened to leak them unless she complied with his demands for more nude photos and sex videos.

Kannan also manipulated the victim into getting her best friend to fall for the same ruse. He tricked both girls into having threesomes with him and got them to perform sexual acts on each other.

He even got the first victim to rope in a boy from her school to engage in sex acts with her.

Prosecutors told the High Court on Tuesday (May 25) that the two girls "found themselves helplessly entangled in the accused's diabolical web as his sex slaves for a period of three years".

Kannan was sentenced to 31 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to one charge of aggravated rape of the first victim when she was 13, and one charge of rape of the second victim when she was 14.

Another 20 charges, including eight for rape and sexual assault by penetration, were taken into consideration.

In sentencing, Justice See Kee Oon said the offences were predatory, premeditated and a brazen exploitation of the victims' naivety.

Kannan had befriended the first victim at the end of 2011, when he was engaged by a primary school to conduct activities for graduating pupils.

Within a few weeks, he suggested that they exchange nude photos of themselves. She sent him hers but when he did not send her his, she stopped messaging him.

In 2013, when the girl was in secondary school, Kannan re-established contact, claiming that he had received threats from a "China man" who found her nude photos.

Kannan told the girl that all she had to do was to send him more nude photographs and sex videos, which he will forward to the "China man" to satisfy him.

He then used the same ruse to get the girl to engage in sexual acts with him.

She began to regard him as her boyfriend and talked to him about her life.

Kannan then convinced her that the "China man" also wanted nude photographs of her best friend. The girl relayed the demands to her friend, who came to believe the ruse.

Kannan later tricked the two girls into having threesomes.

In 2015, he masqueraded as two other men and sent messages to the first victim on social media platforms, asking for nude photos and sex videos.

She felt stressed from the harassment and decided to go to the police. Both girls made a police report on March 15, 2016. Kannan was arrested the next day.

The two girls were later assessed at the Child Guidance Clinic.

The first victim said she had nightmares of people finding out about the matter, which resulted in her suffering from insomnia, feeling depressed and considering suicide.

The second victim said she felt frustrated and helpless and became fearful of people from China as she was worried that they would harm her or her family.

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