Recalcitrant paedophile sexually violated 8-year-old while another boy tried to stop him

SINGAPORE - A paedophile, who sexually violated the eight-year-old son of a friend despite the valiant efforts of another boy to protect the victim, pleaded guilty in the High Court on Wednesday (Feb 13).

The prosecution is seeking at least 12 years' preventive detention for Sanusi Ahmad, 57, a recalcitrant offender who has spent a large part of his life behind bars since he was 26.

The current offences were committed less than a year after he was released from jail for molesting and threatening a 29-year-old woman with a knife in 2013 after she rejected his sexual advances.

The boy and his mother, a single parent who depended on social welfare, lived at a rental flat with another woman and her son, who was the same age as the victim.

Sanusi was a friend of the boy's mother and would occasionally visit the flat.

One day in June 2016, he turned up at the flat unannounced, while both women were sleeping in the living room and the two boys were playing in the bedroom.

The witness was absorbed in playing mobile games and did not pay attention to what Sanusi was doing in the bedroom until he heard the victim shouting "abang, help me, help me". Abang is Malay for older brother.

When he looked up, the witness saw Sanusi performing a sexual act on the victim.

Shocked, he told the man to stop his disgusting acts. But Sanusi stared at him menacingly and asked the witness to sit on the bed with him as well.

The witness tried to pull the victim away but was physically blocked by the man. He watched helplessly as Sanusi performed oral sex on the victim, who was begging the man to stop.

Sanusi asked the boys to touch him but they refused. He left after giving the witness $10.

The sexual assault came to light after the boys' mothers became suspicious.

The witness's mother wondered why her son received $10 from the man.

Meanwhile, the victim's mother noticed that in the days following the incident, Sanusi kept engineering opportunities to be close to her son, even though the boy seemed averse to him.

Under questioning, the victim revealed that Sanusi had touched him inappropriately.

His mother confronted the man, but he denied any wrongdoing. A neighbour who heard the commotion called the police.

According to a child psychiatrist's report, the victim was shy, spoke with a stutter and has learning difficulties.

The accused, who is sexually attracted to boys aged 10 to 12, said he preyed on the victim as he found the boy "cute".

He pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual penetration of a minor. Five other charges, including two for showing a pornographic video to the two boys, were taken into consideration.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Yvonne Poon argued that Sanusi was a menace to society who should be taken out of circulation to protect the public. Among his criminal history, he was sentenced to seven years' preventive detention in 1996 for molesting two 10-year-old boys.

The court called for a report to assess if he was suitable for preventive detention. The case will be heard again on March 13.

A psychiatric report stated Sanusi has alcohol use disorder, paedophilic disorder, and gender dysphoria, a condition in which people identify with a gender different from the one they were born with.

According to past media reports, Sanusi lived as a woman for six years and took female hormone pills but decided in 1991 that he wanted to be a man again.