SINGAPORE — He asked a 12-year-old girl to be his model for a photography competition but it was just a ruse for him to molest her at a staircase landing.
On Thursday (13 June), Lester Ong Pei Cong, 18, was sentenced to 18 months’ probation on one count of molest of a person under the age of 14.
Ong, who is currently serving his national service, had earlier pleaded guilty to the charge. His victim cannot be named due to a gag order.
As part of the sentence, Ong must see a psychologist for sessions on responsible sexual conduct and avoid being in the company with a child aged 12 and below unless with the supervision of an adult. His parents have to ensure Ong’s good behaviour during probation or risk forfeiting their $5,000 bond.
The court heard that on 12 July last year, the victim was on her way home from school when she passed by the lift lobby of a block of flats at Pending Road. Ong approached the girl and asked her to be his model for a photography competition and she agreed.
Ong told her to go to the second floor staircase landing of the block. As the victim was climbing the stairs, Ong patted her buttocks lightly before apologising. The girl believed that the touch was accidental.
She then posed for Ong as instructed. Ong asked the girl for permission to touch her legs in order to adjust her body and she agreed.
Holding on to the girl’s knees, Ong then opened her legs. The girl felt uncomfortable and closed her legs, prompting Ong to repeat the action. The girl closed her legs again.
Ong then asked the girl to unbutton the top button of her polo T-shirt but she refused. However, Ong still reached out to unbutton the top button before inserting his hand into her shirt to touch her upper chest area.
Just as Ong tried to unbutton the second button, the girl pushed him away and said she had to leave. Ong did not follow the girl when she left.
The girl informed her parents about the incident. She later made a police report, and Ong was subsequently arrested.
Ong admitted he had used the photography competition as an excuse to get the girl to follow him before molesting her.
Michael Chia, Ong’s defence lawyer, said that Ong was a junior college student facing “immense pressure” before his A level examinations when he committed the offence.
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