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Domestic helper jailed 17 months for filming elderly man in shower, uploading clips to TikTok, WhatsApp

SINGAPORE — A domestic worker hired to take care of an infirm elderly man who had difficulties managing daily tasks took advantage of him by repeatedly filming him naked while she helped him to take a shower.

Domestic helper jailed 17 months for filming elderly man in shower, uploading clips to TikTok, WhatsApp
A 33-year-old domestic worker pleaded guilty to four charges relating to recording and distributing videos of an elderly man for whom she was hired to care.
  • An Indonesian domestic worker filmed an elderly man she was caring for while she helped him take a shower
  • She shared the videos on WhatsApp and uploaded one on TikTok
  • Despite taking it down soon after, the video was put up again on Facebook and went viral
  • The victim's son stumbled upon it and made a police report
  • Prosecutors described her actions as breaching the family's trust and violating the victim's modesty in a place he would least expect it

SINGAPORE — A domestic worker hired to take care of an infirm elderly man who had difficulties managing daily tasks took advantage of him by repeatedly filming him naked while she helped him to take a shower.

The 33-year-old Indonesian worker then published the videos of the man on mobile platforms such as TikTok and WhatsApp. One video was reposted by an unknown user on a Facebook page titled SG Dirty Fella where it went viral. The video had the elderly man blurred in the footage.

The victim's son found the video on Facebook and filed a police report.

On Thursday (Jan 27), the domestic worker pleaded guilty to four charges relating to recording and distributing the videos, with nine other charges taken into consideration during sentencing.

The elderly man and his son cannot be named due to a court order to protect the victim’s identity. The gag order did not extend to the domestic worker's identity, but her name was removed from court documents.

WHAT HAPPENED

The domestic worker was employed by the family on Feb 1, 2020 to take care of the victim as well as assisting the victim’s wife with other housework.

The court heard that the victim was diagnosed with swelling in the brain sometime in December 2019, and then in January 2020 with having very poor vision. Due to these conditions, the man required help in his day-to-day tasks.

Around Feb 14 in 2020, the worker assisted the victim to take a shower while he sat on the toilet bowl. She had earlier placed her phone with a camera in the bathroom and positioned it such that the victim’s face and naked body were in full view. The victim’s genitals were also visible in the video recording when he stood up.

She later sent the nine-minute video to an unknown party via WhatsApp, while reasonably knowing that the distribution of the video would cause humiliation for the victim, the court heard.

In January last year, she recorded the victim in the toilet again using her TikTok application while helping the victim shower and shave. In both videos, she could be seen looking into the camera and smiling.

Both videos were taken without the knowledge or consent of the victim.

She uploaded the second video on TikTok, which was slightly under a minute in duration, but claimed that she had taken it down after about an hour following negative comments received. However, she did not delete the video from her phone.

The court heard that the video was separately uploaded by an unknown party to the SG Dirty Fella Facebook page, though the victim could not be clearly seen. As of mid-June last year, the video had accumulated more than 14,000 views.

The domestic worker's employer, who is the victim’s son, came across this video on Jan 3 and made a police report.

In addition to those two videos, she recorded another five videos of the victim. Three out of the five videos show the victim’s genitals, while four of the recordings were shared with other parties via WhatsApp.

NOT A ONE-TIME MISTAKE

In seeking imprisonment of at least 18 months, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Foong Ke Hui said that as a carer, the domestic worker should have known that the victim was vulnerable, which made her offences more serious.

Through her actions, she had also broken the trust of the victim as well as that of the victim’s family, who had entrusted her as a stay-home caregiver for the elderly man.

The offences also happened at home, where he would “least expect” to have his modesty violated.

DPP Foong also said that the multiple videos as well as the number of charges involved highlighted that the offences were not a “one-time mistake”.

In mitigation, the Indonesian, who was not represented by a lawyer and spoke in Bahasa Indonesia through an interpreter, pleaded for the judge’s leniency. 

She said that she was her family’s breadwinner and that she has lived in Singapore for a long time and would like to go home.

In sentencing, District Judge Ng Peng Hong said that deterrence was an important consideration in view of the seriousness of her offences.

However, he also took into consideration all mitigating factors, in particular the fact that she had pleaded guilty early, he said.

For each count of voyeurism against a vulnerable victim, she could have been jailed for up to four years and fined.

For each count of distributing intimate recordings of a vulnerable victim, she could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

Related topics

court crime voyeurism shower foreign domestic worker maid

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