Teen who molested student gets probation

A male student molested a 13-year-old boy from his secondary school and repeatedly pestered a 10-year-old child, asking him to send naked pictures of himself.

The offender, now 18, was sentenced to two years and three months' probation yesterday and ordered to perform 190 hours of community service.

He has to undergo psychological intervention to address sexual offending behaviours and his mother was bonded for $5,000 to ensure his good behaviour.

The teenager pleaded guilty last December to one count each of molestation and sexual exploitation of a child. He cannot be named due to a gag order to protect his victims' identities.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai told the court that the offender first met the 13-year-old boy at a school camp in January 2017 but lost contact with him.

They reconnected at a barbecue seven months later and frequently spent time together at the younger boy's home afterwards.

However, the older teen started molesting the boy later that year.

 
 

On Jan 5 last year, the victim told his senior schoolmates about his ordeal and they decided to confront the offender. The older teen was waiting for the boy at the latter's home when the group turned up.

The offender called the police hotline, claiming that he had been assaulted and managed to run away. Court documents did not state what happened following the telephone call.

Soon after, the teenager befriended the 10-year-old boy as they were in the same student care programme. On March 21 last year, he started sending the boy text messages, asking him to send naked pictures of himself.

DPP Lai told District Judge May Mesenas: "The victim replied 'no' and did not do what the accused asked of him. For the next few days, the accused continued to harass the victim by asking him to send these photos to him.

"At one point, the accused even offered the victim $10 to have a video call with him, for the victim to show the accused his private parts. The victim continued to reject the requests of the accused."

The boy's mother saw the text messages on March 27 and alerted her son's school. She also took her son to a neighbourhood police centre to lodge a report.

For molestation, the offender could have been jailed for up to five years and fined or caned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2019, with the headline 'Teen who molested student gets probation'. Print Edition | Subscribe