University research assistant fined $6,000 for molesting colleague in workplace

SINGAPORE - While they were alone in their office, a research assistant at a university in Singapore made advances on his female colleague.

Though she rejected the advances, the man persisted and ended up hugging and kissing her.

He was fined $6,000 on Monday (July 25) after pleading guilty to a molestation charge.

The man and the location of the offence cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the woman's identity.

In court documents, Deputy Public Prosecutor Regina Lim said the man and his victim were alone in their office at about 7pm on April 29 last year, after their colleagues left.

The man approached the victim at her cubicle and asked if she liked him and repeatedly asked her to be his girlfriend.

"The victim rejected the accused's advances and told him that she was not interested in a relationship," said DPP Lim.

Despite the victim rejecting his request to hug her, the man proceeded to do so with both arms. She tried to get out of the embrace by pushing him on the chest, but he was stronger than her and continued hugging her.

He then asked if he could kiss her and ignored her refusals by hugging and kissing her on her lips. She again failed in her attempts to push him away.

After the woman reported the incident to the university on Aug 3 last year, an investigator at the institution made a police report a week later.

DPP Lim asked for the offender to be fined between $6,000 and $7,000, noting there was skin-on-skin contact and that the offender had used force.

She added: "The offence occurred in the workplace, where the victim was situationally vulnerable to (the) accused's unwanted advances."

The man's lawyer, Mr Eric Liew, said his client has admitted to his poor judgment and has since left his employment at the university, and there was no threat of further harassment to the victim.

For molestation, the man could have been jailed for up to two years, fined or caned, or sentenced to any combination of these punishments.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.