SINGAPORE — A man admitted on Wednesday (31 July) to preying on five teenage girls for an array of sexual offences.
At the time, A R Arun Prashanth was 22 years old and serving his national service with the Singapore Police Force.
After befriending his victims, aged 12 to 15, Arun would pester some of them for obscene images and to meet up for sex.
Arun, now unemployed, also took more than 700 upskirt images of women without their knowledge between 2016 and 2017.
He pleaded guilty in the State Courts to seven charges, including sexual penetration of a minor under 16, committing an obscene act with a young person, and insulting the modesty of a woman.
Another 21 charges of a similar nature will be considered for his sentencing.
None of the victims can be named due to a gag order imposed by the court.
Arun met one of the victims after she was added into a WhatsApp group chat titled “Making New Friends” in September 2016. He began messaging her separately the following month.
The girl blocked Arun as he was pestering her to meet up. Arun, however, continued to message the girl on her Instagram account.
On 3 February 2017, the girl texted Arun to say that she was skipping her co-curricular activities. Arun invited her to his home and booked a private hire car for her. The girl agreed to visit his home.
After the girl arrived and removed her shoes, Arun placed them in a shoe bag in his bedroom in order not to alert anyone else in the house to her presence. He hugged her twice.
Arun led her to his bedroom and placed her on the lower bunk of his double deck bed. He told her to hide under the bed if someone were to return home.
As Arun lay beside the girl, he kissed her. She pushed him away, but Arun persisted.
Arun then molested the girl while attempting to remove her dress. He also sexually penetrated her with his fingers.
After a while, Arun left the bedroom, prompting the girl to get dressed and send messages for help to her friend.
She left the room and told Arun that her mother had discovered her playing truant. Arun arranged for a private hire car to pick the girl up and hugged her.
When the girl boarded the car, the driver noticed that she was trembling. After the girl told her what happened, the driver sent her down to a neighbourhood police centre to lodge a police report.
Meanwhile, Arun told the girl via WhatsApp to delete all their chat records and visit him again soon. Although the records were deleted, they were retrieved from Arun’s phone.
Arun was arrested on 4 February 2017. During investigations, 720 upskirt photos were found on his phone.
In another incident, Arun took advantage of a woman who was lying unconscious at a staircase. He took upskirt photos of her for 30 minutes. Court documents did not reveal why the woman was unconscious.
Arun separately texted the youngest victim, a 12-year-old girl, on Instagram between February and March 2016. He was aware of the girl’s age.
After they exchange phone numbers, Arun began sending her lewd messages several times a day. He also badgered the girl for nude photos.
“He also pressed her to meet him at his house or hotels for ‘cuddles’ or sexual intercourse. (The girl) felt harassed by the accused and she would try to ignore him. However, she would feel bad for not replying and she replied at times,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kwang Jia Min.
On 8 May 2016, Arun again asked for “sexy photographs” and the girl relented, sending a photo of herself in her brassiere. The victim reportedly felt depressed and regretted agreeing to Arun’s request.
Separately, Arun exposed his penis to a 15-year-old girl her on their first meeting and asked her to stroke him. He also engaged in oral sex with her several times.
He also had sex with a separate victim and also sent obscene photos of himself to another victim he met on Tinder.
Arun will be back in court on 13 August for his sentencing.
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