Man jailed for 28 months for having sex with minor he met at a Harajuku-inspired group event

SINGAPORE - A man met a Secondary 3 girl half his age at a Japanese-inspired Harajuku group event, where they developed feelings for each other.

He then taught her how to perform sexual acts and they met multiple times at his home to have sex.

Their relationship came to light when an anonymous person informed the girl's family who, in turn, confronted the victim before they contacted the police.

On Friday (May 27), the man, who cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the victim's identity, was jailed for two years and four months after earlier pleading guilty to three charges of having sex with a minor.

Another four charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

The court heard that the man, now 34, has a mild intellectual disability but that it had no causal link to his offences.

He was unemployed and had a girlfriend at the time of the offence.

The man and the victim were part of a society for Harajuku enthusiasts of the fashion and culture made famous by the trendy Japanese district.

The group met regularly and would dress up in Harajuku-inspired clothes. It was at one of the group's events that he got to know the girl, then 14.

In May 2018, she texted the man that she felt insecure about her new haircut. He suggested they go to his home, where he could help cut her hair. 

She agreed and had her hair cut in his living room, before heading into the man’s room when his father came home. She studied on the floor while the man played with his phone on his bed.

She then lay next to him at his request and the man guided her to perform a sexual act, before having sex with her.

They did so on several occasions over the next few months.

The man was aware that he was unlawfully having sex with a minor, stated court documents.

Eventually, the girl’s step-sister received an anonymous message on Instagram telling her the victim had been sleeping with someone and told the girl’s mother. 

When she was confronted by her mother, the victim confessed that she had sex with the accused. 

The prosecution said: "(The mother) and the victim's step-sister then confronted the accused. The accused then retorted that it was the victim who asked him for sex."

Enraged, the mother reported the matter to the police in November that year.

Seeking at least 30 months’ jail for the man, Deputy Public Prosecutor Colin Ng said that the girl was sexually exploited and morally corrupted by the man who taught her how to perform sexual acts. 

Any consent given by the victim is not a valid mitigating factor, he added.

Consequently, the girl developed trust issues and panic attacks, said the DPP, adding that the man showed no remorse as he blamed the victim when the family confronted him.

In mitigation, the defence said no force was used in committing the rape and argued that the man, who hopes to get married after his sentence, had an intellectual disability. 

In reply, DPP Ng said that an Institute of Mental Health report stated that the man’s condition did not contribute to his offence and that he could still tell what was right and wrong at the time. 

The offender will start his sentence next month. Those guilty of having sex with a minor under 16 can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

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