SINGAPORE — A man who molested his neighbour’s maid was jailed 11 months on Wednesday (1 April).
The 28-year-old Singaporean had followed the Burmese maid after she got out of a lift and hugged her from behind as she headed towards her employer’s unit and rubbed against her.
Even as the 30-year-old woman broke free and ran to her unit’s front gate, the man still followed her and hugged her once more while also molesting her.
The woman’s ordeal only ended when she shouted for help and her male employer came out of the bedroom. As the man stayed two units away from the maid, he cannot be named in case the victim can be identified.
During the man’s sentencing hearing on Wednesday (1 April), the court heard that he had an intellectual disability since young and was exempted from national service for the same reason.
An Institute of Mental Health (IMH) report issued 13 days after the man’s offence on 31 July last year found that the man’s mild intellectual disability caused him to “minimise the behaviour which he thinks is wrongful or socially inappropriate” and also renders him less able to control his impulses.
The man, who is the second youngest of four siblings, lived with his grandmother at the time of the offence
Victim left ‘distressed and fearful’
On 31 July last year, the maid was waiting for the lift at the first floor of her block when the man struck up a casual conversation with her. The maid knew that the man stayed two units away from her.
The two then took the lift to their floor without incident. As the maid walked to her unit ahead of the man, he suddenly hugged her from behind, wrapping his arms below her waist. He rubbed his penis against the woman’s buttocks and ignored her pleas for him to stop.
Struggling, the victim managed to break free. She ran to the entrance of the unit. As she opened the metal gate, the man hugged her around her waist and pecked her on the lips. The woman managed to push him away, but the man returned and molested her.
As she entered her unit, the maid fell onto the floor. The man took advantage of the maid’s sitting position to push her head towards his genitals. The maid resisted and fell backwards with her head on the floor.
The man then lay on top of the maid and molested her again. The woman shouted for her employer, who emerged from a bedroom. Upon seeing the male employer, the man released the woman and left the unit.
The woman lodged a police report the next day and the man was arrested.
“Distressed and fearful after the incident, the victim stopped working for the employer. The victim’s work permit was cancelled and she left Singapore one month after the incident was reported,” the prosecution told the court.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Emily Koh sought a year and three weeks’ jail for the man, who had pleaded guilty to one count of molest and one count of trespass during an earlier hearing.
The prosecutor noted that the man had a previous record for molesting a 15-year-old female student at a bus stop near his house in 2018. He was jailed five months then.
Mitigating for her client, the man’s lawyer Chong Xin Yi said her client had committed the offence on the spur of the moment after he encountered the maid by chance. She pointed out that there was no skin-to-skin contact between her client and the victim’s private parts, lowering the degree of sexual exploitation.
Referring to the man’s medical condition, the lawyer called for rehabilitation and treatment as being “most appropriate” as it was unlikely that a harsh custodial sentence would achieve a deterrent effect.
The man now stays with his mother, and his family has ensured that he would not go to his grandmother’s house. His family members are also committed to ensuring that the man finds employment and does not reoffend, Chong said.
For trespass, the man could have been jailed three months, fined a maximum $1,500, or both. For molest, the man could have been jailed up to two years, fined, caned, or received a combination of the punishments.
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