Reformative training for teen who molested underage girl

A student molested an underage girl on eight separate occasions from 2013 to 2017 and even committed the offences during family gatherings.

The 19-year-old was sentenced yesterday to a year's reformative training after pleading guilty last month to two counts of molestation. He will be sent to a reformative training centre to follow a strict regimen that includes foot drills and counselling.

Six other charges for similar offences were considered during sentencing. He cannot be named to protect the victim's identity. Court documents did not reveal the nature of their relationship.

In March 2015, the girl, then 13, went to his home for a family gathering. He attracted her attention by holding on to her cellphone. He then asked her to follow him into a bedroom and pulled her inside when she refused.

She tried to leave when he asked her to enter a bathroom and deliberately tripped her, causing her to fall. He then sat on top of her to prevent her from escaping and forced her to sexually stimulate him. He also molested her, the court heard.

The girl was at his home again on Oct 8, 2017, to celebrate his sister's birthday.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhamad Imaduddien said the victim then discovered that her cellphone had gone missing.

The DPP added: "From similar incidents in the past, she knew that the accused had taken her phone. She went to the master bedroom and stood outside the door. She suspected that the accused was hiding behind the door as she could not see him.

"When the victim asked the accused to return her phone, the accused replied from behind the door that he would return the phone if the victim went into the room to talk to him."

She refused to enter and sought help from his sister. The boy still refused to hand over the device after his sister stepped in, telling her that he wanted to sleep.

The victim later went into the room to check if he was really sleeping so that she could retrieve her cellphone. The boy suddenly appeared from behind the door, pulled her into a toilet and molested her.

The girl finally alerted the police on Oct 11, 2017.

Yesterday, defence lawyer Pang Khin Wee urged District Judge May Mesenas to sentence his client to probation. He also said the boy was a youthful offender who has supportive parents.

The judge, however, said the teenager had committed serious offences and the sentence had to reflect their severity.

The teenager is out on bail of $10,000 and will surrender himself at the State Courts on April 15 to begin serving his sentence.

For each molestation charge, offenders can be jailed for up to 10 years and caned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2019, with the headline 'Reformative training for teen who molested underage girl'. Print Edition | Subscribe