Football coach who sexually abused boys aged 8 to 11 jailed 26 years and caned

Singapore Supreme Court (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

The man would blindfold the boys that he coached with pieces of clothing before performing oral sex on them in several toilets at the locations where he held football training sessions and nursing rooms in malls.

The seven victims, then aged between eight and 11 years old, were too young to know that their 25-year-old football coach’s actions were wrong.

The coach, now 28, was sentenced to 26 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual assault by penetration on the boys on Monday (19 March) in the High Court. The offences occurred over five months in 2015.

Another 18 counts of a similar nature, including one of possessing obscene films, and two charges over unrelated incidents were taken into account for the man’s sentencing.

Following his arrest, the man was diagnosed by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) to have pedophilic disorder, or a condition characterised by sexual attraction to children.

Sometime in 2012, the man began assisting a 36-year-old certified football coach to lead an amateur football team for boys between 12 and 17 years old. However, the coach left over several disagreements in 2014.

The man then took over the position of coach and began recruiting younger boys up to the age of 14. He reached out to potential members by giving out pamphlets about his team outside primary schools and creating a Facebook page.

He would hold training sessions for the boys on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at an open field beside a community club. The boys would head to the community club to wash up after the sessions.

Sometimes, the man would fetch the boys from their homes and send them back after training to assure their parents that their children were cared for.

Between May and September 2015, the man sexually assaulted the boys in toilet cubicles by performing oral sex on them. He would usually get them alone during training sessions or as the boys were showering after playing.

Sometimes, the man covered the boys’ eyes with his own shirt or their shorts while he committed the acts on them.

On some occasions, he would use his mobile phone camera to film the acts and upload the files on his own Facebook Messenger account for storage. Police investigations of the account found a total of 13 videos, which did not capture the boys’ faces.

The offences came to light after one of the boys told his parents that he no longer wanted to go for football training. The boy told his parents about the man’s sordid acts.

The parents lodged a police report on 25 September 2015 and the man was arrested on 1 October the same year.

The prosecution, represented by Deputy Public Prosecutors David Khoo and James Chew, sought at least 27 years’ jail for 24 strokes of the cane for the man, whom they said committed the offences in a “calculated and premeditated manner”.

“Gaining access to these boys, he deliberately sought to isolate them in places such as toilet cubicles, where he would perform fellatio on the victims and gratify his own perverse desires.

“He exploited the inherent vulnerability of the victims as children of tender age, and gravely abused his position of trust and authority as their football coach,” said the prosecution.

The man, who was diagnosed with pedophilia on 26 October 2016, posed a “very real and serious danger” to the public, added the prosecution, citing the IMH report which assessed the man to have a moderate to high chance of reoffending.

For sexual assault by penetration of a person under 14 years old, the man could have jailed between eight and 20 years, and caned a minimum 12 strokes on each count.