Ex-primary school employee jailed 18 years for sexually abusing 3 siblings

Nigel Chin
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

He was working as an operations support assistant at a primary school when he befriended three siblings and would take them out to the Singapore Zoo, various shopping centres and for meals.

He even won the trust of the children’s parents and visited the family at their home, and even bought gifts such as shoes and clothing for the three boys.

But all of this was done so that he could sexually abuse the three children on multiple occasions between 2009 and 2013. For his offences, he was sentenced to 18 years’ jail at the High Court on Wednesday (15 November).

The 53-year-old man, who has three children of his own, pleaded guilty in September 2016 to one count of aggravated sexual assault by penetration, one count of sexual penetration of a minor and three counts of committing an indecent act with a child.

Thirty-one other charges, including two unrelated charges under the Films Act, were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Started with the eldest child

According to court documents, the man first got to know the oldest brother, who was then in Primary 5, sometime in 2009. Between July 2009 and the end of that year, the man engaged in various sexual acts with the boy including hugging and kissing the boy, having the boy touch his private parts and having the boy perform oral sex on him.

The man subsequently got to know the boy’s two younger brothers and performed similar acts with them.

On one occasion in early 2013, the man arranged to meet the younger brothers and accompanied them back to their home. The brothers’ parents were not around at the time.

The man spent some time in the bedroom with the two boys, before asking the youngest sibling to remove his school shorts and underwear. He then made the boy lie face down on the bed, then exposed his own private parts and sexually abused the boy. He did the same with the boy’s older sibling.

After he as done, even accompanied the two boys to pick up their younger sister from school. In December 2012, he also forced the older siblings to perform a sex act on him at a male toilet in a community centre.

The man focused his attention on second-oldest boy as the child appeared to be neglected by his parents and was more compliant than his siblings.

The man’s crimes were discovered in March 2013, after the man sent a text message to the boys’ mother asking if he could bring the older siblings out to shop for school shoes. When the mother showed the message to the second-oldest boy, he kept unusually quiet.

The two younger boys then revealed what the man had been doing to them. The mother then questioned her eldest son, who said that he had also been sexually abused.

A police report was lodged four days later and the man was arrested on 22 March 2013. He has remained in remand ever since.

Deputy public prosecutor Winston Man pushed for a global sentence of at least 18 years. He told the court that the accused is a “diagnosed paedophile with a moderate risk of reoffending” and there is a need for “deterrence, retribution and prevention”.

He also pointed out that there were numerous aggravating factors in the case, as the man had abused the trust of the victims and their parents, as well as his position as a school employee.

Additionally, the oldest sibling still has flashbacks of his encounters with the man whenever he reads articles about similar cases or when he passes by the primary school. The man also “exhibited an extremely cynical level of premeditation”, said DPP Man.

The man’s pro bono lawyer, Remy Choo, argued that a jail term of 16 years was sufficient as a deterrent.

A letter from the man’s 16-year-old daughter pleading for leniency was also submitted to the court, but Justice Hoo Sheau Peng said that she agreed with the prosecution’s position before meting out her sentence.

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