Senior staff nurse given 2 weeks' jail for molesting health attendant

SINGAPORE - A civil relationship between two members of the hospital staff turned sour when one began making persistent inappropriate advances towards the other in the workplace.

On Wednesday (May 23), Mo Ruhong, 36, a senior staff nurse at a local hospital, was sentenced to two weeks' jail on two charges of outraging and insulting a woman's modesty. Two other charges of outraging a woman's modesty were taken into consideration.

The woman and the hospital cannot be named due to a gag order.

The court heard that Mo had been working in the hospital for about 13 years when the offences took place.

Due to his seniority, he was considered to be one of the staff in charge. The victim, a 28-year-old woman employed as a health attendant, worked in the same ward as Mo.

They enjoyed a civil working relationship until June 2017, when Mo began behaving inappropriately towards the woman by touching her waist. When she told him not to do it again, he smiled and walked off without replying.

The harassment intensified in July, when he approached the woman from behind when she was cleaning the staff changing room and held her shoulders, turned her around and told her: "Come, I kiss you."

She managed to push him away and said she would complain about his actions to a supervisor if he did something similar again.

In September, he asked the woman to approach him and then told her: "I like your buttock." He then proceeded to make a cupping action with his hands. The woman was disgusted and walked away.

She told her manager about Mo a few days later and eventually reported the incident to the police and asked to change wards.

District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan noted the unequal balance of power between the two and how it would "elevate distress felt by the victim" as she had to face him daily at work.

Mo will begin serving his sentence on May 30 and is currently out on bail.

For outraging a woman's modesty, he could have been sentenced to two years' jail with fine or caning.