Youth pleads guilty to molesting boy, 13

A youth befriended a 13-year-old from his secondary school and started hanging out with him.

But their meet-ups soon turned into a nightmare for the younger boy. The older teen, who was 17 at the time, molested him frequently by grabbing his private parts.

Despite being confronted by the victim's friends, the offender managed to get away.

He soon set his sights on a second victim - a 10-year-old boy. He repeatedly harassed the child, asking him to send nude pictures of himself, but was rejected.

This time, however, the youth was caught after the child's mother came across the text messages he had sent to her son.

Yesterday, the offender, now 18, pleaded guilty 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 last year, but lost contact with him. The two reconnected at a barbecue event seven months later, and starting spending time together at the younger boy's home.

The youth started molesting the boy later that year. On Jan 5 this year, the victim told his senior school mates about his ordeal and they decided to confront the offender. The youth was waiting for the boy at the latter's home when the group turned up to confront him. The offender called the police hotline, claiming he had been assaulted and managed to run away.

Court documents did not state what happened following the call to the police hotline.

Soon after, the youth befriended the 10-year-old boy as they were in the same student care programme.

On March 21, he started sending the boy text messages, asking him to send nude 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 accused's requests."

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

Yesterday, Judge Mesenas called for a report to assess the offender's suitability for probation. He will be back in court on Jan 7.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2018, with the headline 'Youth pleads guilty to molesting boy, 13'. Print Edition | Subscribe