SINGAPORE - An 18-year-old, who molested three young girls in Hougang and committed a spate of thefts, including that of a motorcycle, was on Tuesday (March 8) sentenced to reformative training.
James Jerome Marius will also be disqualified from driving for a year after he completes his sentence.
He pleaded guilty to three charges of outrage of modesty and two counts of theft.
He also admitted to another charge of theft, and a count each of riding without a licence and riding without insurance coverage. These were considered during sentencing.
A community court heard that on the night of Dec 4, 2012, Marius tailed an 11-year-old girl going back to her home in Hougang Avenue 8.
When she reached her block's lift landing at about 8.50pm, he went up to her and asked her to follow him as he had something to tell her. Afraid that he might harm her if she refused, the girl complied, and Marius led her to the void deck of a nearby block.
He pulled her pants and panties down, even though she squatted down in a bid to stop him. He then made her stand up, and touched her private parts and sexually assaulted her with his finger.
The girl shouted, but Marius placed a hand over her mouth. When she told him she wanted to leave, he asked her to hug him first. She then ran away to a carpark, where she asked a taxi driver for help, and he called the police.
On July 20, 2013, Marius again tailed another girl going home.
This time, he followed the 12-year-old victim into the lift at her block in Hougang Avenue 5 at about 4.45pm.
When the girl was about to exit the lift at her floor, he said "Good luck" to her and quickly brushed his hand down from her chest area to her hip area.
The girl went home and told her mother about the incident. Her father took her to make a police report three days later.
On Aug 26, 2014, Marius struck again. This time, he was washing a car at a carpark in Hougang Central when he saw a nine-year-old girl walking home at about 5.30pm.
When she passed him, he asked her about her school and her uniform, before hugging her and touching the upper side of her inner thigh.
The girl's mother went to look for Marius together with her daughter later, and the mother called the police to state that she had found the perpetrator.
On Nov 17 last year, Marius and two friends also stole a motorcycle from an ITE College East carpark.
He rode the motorcycle around the carpark, but the engine stalled shortly after. He pushed the vehicle to a nearby carpark and left it there.
His actions were caught on closed-circuit television.
On June 12 last year, he also went into a store at Nex shopping mall, removed a soldering torch worth $29.70 from its packaging, and walked out of the store with it.
He also stole an Apple iPhone 4S on another occasion.
Reformative training is a strict regime in which young offenders are put behind bars for between 18 months and three years.
The maximum penalty for using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a person under 14 is five years' jail, a fine and caning. The maximum punishment for the offence, where there is also wrongful restraint to the person, is 10 years' jail and caning.
The maximum penalty for theft is three years' jail, a fine and caning. The maximum punishment for theft of a motor vehicle is seven years' jail and a fine. The offender will also be disqualified from driving after his release from prison.