SINGAPORE - A 60-year-old man was sentenced to two years' jail on Wednesday (Nov 1) for pimping out his underage neighbour after she confided in him about her personal problems.
He cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the identity of the girl, who was then 17 years old.
The jobless man pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday to one count each of procurement for the purpose of prostitution and abetment of commercial sex with a minor below 18. Three other similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
The man committed these offences in February.
The court heard that he and the victim lived on the same floor of a Boon Lay block of flats.
In October last year, the man approached the teenager after he saw her crying at a staircase near their units.
He asked her what was wrong and she replied that she had been raped. They chatted for a few hours and he advised her to lodge a police report.
The girl told him her age and walked away after giving him her mobile phone number.
The outcome of this rape allegation and the identity of the purported rapist were not mentioned in court on Wednesday.
After this incident, the teenager would seek out her neighbour whenever she experienced problems at home.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Siti Adrianni Marhain said: "The accused was aware that there were always fights and sounds of people arguing loudly coming from the victim's unit. The victim would confide all her problems to the accused.
"The accused described his perception of the victim as an easily trusting person who had suffered trauma and had a troubled childhood."
In January, the girl told him that she was looking for ways to earn money as her mother wanted to chase her out of their home. He then suggested that she turn to prostitution.
He told her that he could introduce her to his friend - another man who lived in the same block - who he knew had a penchant for young girls. The girl did not agree to the older man's proposition at first.
The following month, the man told his 53-year-old friend about the girl, saying that she was in need of money.
He also told his friend that there would be a "flesh transaction". The court heard that the younger man knew the girl's family and had even gone drinking with her mother and stepfather.
On Feb 8, the 60-year-old man called the girl and asked her to meet him at the void deck. When the teenager arrived, she saw that he was with his friend whom she did not know.
She then had two cans of beer which the younger man had with him. After that, the trio went up to the younger man's home and drank red wine in the living room.
The younger man then passed her $500. When she asked what it was for, the older man told her that it was for sexual services.
After the girl took a shower, the 60-year-old man asked her for $50, saying that he deserved the money. When she complied, he told her: "Good girl."
Noticing that the teenager was dizzy after the drinking session, he told her to go into a bedroom and lie down.
She did as she was told and the younger man followed her. The pair then had unprotected sex. He paid her for sex two more times later that month.
DPP Siti Adrianni urged District Judge May Mesenas to jail the 60-year-old man for at least two years, stressing that he had exploited the teenager's vulnerability and trust.
She also told the court that his friend was jailed for nine months in June after engaging in paid sex with the same minor.
The older man's lawyer, Mr Mohamed Niroze Idroos, pleaded for his client to receive the same sentence. He said that his client had committed the offences in a moment of folly and that he did not use violence on the girl.
Before handing out the sentence, Judge Mesenas said: "This was a girl who trusted him (and she) is scarred forever."
The man is now out on bail of $15,000 and will surrender himself at the State Courts on Nov 15 to begin his sentence.
Offenders convicted of abetment of commercial sex with a minor can be jailed for up to seven years and fined.