Man pleads guilty to molesting 12-year-old neighbour in lift and bus

Wan Ting Koh
Singapore’s State Courts. (Yahoo file photo)

The 12-year-old boy had only been living in his new flat for a month when his 46-year-old neighbour preyed on him as he was on the way to school.

On three separate occasions between April and September last year, the man touched the boy’s genitals over his shorts while they were taking the lift together. Another time, the man even followed the boy up the bus to molest him.

The man, who was unemployed, pleaded guilty to two charges of outraging the boy’s modesty while two similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing. Both the man and the boy, now 14, cannot be named to protect the boy’s identity.

The boy and his family moved into their new flat at Serangoon North in April last year. Later that month, as the boy was on his way to school sometime after 6.30am he met the man on the fifth floor lift lobby.

They entered the lift together and the man pressed the 16th floor button. As the lift ascended, the man stepped backwards towards the boy, prompting the boy to move against the lift wall.

The man then grabbed the boy’s crotch over his school shorts and squeezed lightly until the lift reached the 16th floor.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Amanda Chong said that the boy felt scared in the lift but could not leave as the man was blocking his path. The boy ran out of the lift when it stopped at the 16th floor.

A month later, the victim was on the way to school in the morning when the man accosted him in the lift. The man asked the boy which bus he was taking, but the boy ignored him.

As the boy exited the lift and boarded bus 55, the man followed him and boarded the same bus. The man stood in front of the boy, facing away from him.

With his arms behind his back, the man then shifted backwards in the crowded bus before gripping the boy’s crotch over his shorts.

The boy tried to push the man’s hands away but the man did not release his hold. The man released his grip only upon the boy’s second attempt to push the man away.

According to DPP Chong, the incident only came to light after the boy’s younger brother commented to his mother that the man was gay. When the mother asked her elder son about it, the boy revealed the incidents to her.

The prosecution asked for a fuller psychiatric examination for the man to be made before sentencing as a report from the Institute of Mental Health in November last year had diagnosed the man with mild mental retardation. This is to assess whether the man is suitable for caning and whether he is at risk of reoffending.

Speaking through an interpreter, the man told the court that he had lost his job and has a house to take care of. “I made mistakes up till now, from now I will not commit any offences,” he said.

District Judge Jasvender Kaur granted the request for a psychiatric examination. The man will be back in court for sentencing on 5 December.

For outraging the modesty of a person under 14, the man faces a jail term of up to five years, and/or a fine and/or caning.

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