Foreign worker jailed for sex with girl, 13

Indian national made girl pregnant after having sex with her three times

Foreign worker Vellakkanu Raja, 24, was jailed for 2 years yesterday after pleading guilty to 3 counts of underage sex.
Foreign worker Vellakkanu Raja, 24, was jailed for 2 years yesterday after pleading guilty to 3 counts of underage sex. PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

A foreign worker who made a 13-year-old girl pregnant after having sex with her on three occasions was jailed for two years yesterday.

Indian national Vellakkanu Raja, 24, a construction worker, pleaded guilty to three counts of underage sex, with three other offences taken into consideration in sentencing.

A District Court heard that sometime around November or December 2014, the Secondary 1 student approached Raja at Changi Beach and gave him her cellphone number. He contacted her that evening and subsequently met her a few times. After several weeks, she began to consider that they were in a "boyfriend-girlfriend relationship''.

Some time around February last year, they met at Changi Village, consumed beer in a deserted part of the beach, and started to become physically intimate. He had unprotected sex with her.

When her 24-year-old male cousin found out they were meeting each other, he told her mother, who confronted the victim and told her not to see Raja.

The mother also confiscated her mobile phone.

On May 28 last year, the girl ran away from home. Her mother lodged a police report the next day. She called Raja and told him to contact her if the victim met or approached him.

Later that day, the girl's cousin arrived in Yishun to fetch her. He told Raja that the victim was "very young'' and there was a nine-year gap between them.

After the girl was back home, her mother called Raja and told him her daughter was only 13, still in school, and they should not see each other anymore.

But the pair continued to meet.

Investigations further revealed that in August and October, the two met at Punggol Waterway Park, drank beer and had sex in the park.

She learnt she was pregnant when her mother took her to a polyclinic and KK Women's and Children's Hospital in January this year. She had an abortion 10 weeks later when she was 23 weeks pregnant.

On Jan 22, she told Raja that the case had been referred to the police. He was arrested at Changi Airport the next day for trying to leave the country.

Raja's lawyer Shaneet Rai said it was the victim who had sought out his client by giving him her number, and initiating contact. He said Raja was remorseful for the hurt he had caused the victim and her family. He had learnt a bitter lesson, he added.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sruthi Boppana said the present case had resulted in pregnancy which is recognised as an aggravating factor. She said it was "utterly incredible'' for the defence to characterise the case as one in which the accused had merely succumbed to the victim's advances.

She said Raja kept on seeing the victim and communicated constantly with her. He exploited her affections even though her mother and cousin had told him not to do so.

Raja could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each charge of sexual penetration of a person below 16 years old.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2016, with the headline 'Foreign worker jailed for sex with girl, 13'. Subscribe