Teen molested 12-year-old girl who agreed to be his photography model

SINGAPORE - A teenager asked a 12-year-old girl to be his model for a photography competition and lured her to a staircase landing before molesting her.

Lester Ong Pei Cong, 18, pleaded guilty in court on Friday (March 29) to outraging the girl's modesty on July 12 last year.

She was on her way home from school at around 3.15pm and was walking past a lift lobby of a Bukit Panjang block of flats when Ong approached her.

The court heard that they did not know each other.

He asked if she could be his photography model and she agreed.

The pair were going up a flight of stairs to the second storey of the block when he patted her buttocks.

The teenager apologised, leading the girl to assume that he had accidentally touched her.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Suhas Malhotra said Ong later molested her under the guise of helping her with some poses.

When she returned home, she told her parents what happened before making a police report.

Officers managed to identify Ong, who was soon arrested.

The DPP told District Judge Eddy Tham: "The accused admitted that he had used the photography competition as an excuse for the victim to follow him."

Ong said he did not take any photos and "that he had acted in a moment of impulse and had regretted his actions".

Judge Tham called for a report to assess Ong's suitability for a probation.

The teenager is expected to be sentenced on April 26.

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Offenders convicted of molesting a girl below 14 years old can be jailed for up to five years and fined or caned.

Ong was not the first youth to be convicted in court in recent months for molestation.

In January, male model Coker Gyles Akinkumni Jagdeesh, 21, admitted molesting a woman, also 21, after a Sentosa Cove private party in 2017.

Coker was sentenced to 15 months' probation on Feb 27.

As part of his probation, he must remain indoors from 10pm to 6am every day and has to perform 100 hours of community service.

His uncle was also bonded for $5,000 to ensure his good behaviour.