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Jail, caning for former IMH nurse who molested patients, filmed ex-colleagues

SINGAPORE — A former Institute of Mental Health (IMH) nurse given the task of caring for patients, including those who were suicidal and had severe mental illness, abused his position and committed sexual crimes against them.

The 36-year-old former nurse at the Institute of Mental Health molested patients and filmed them when they were naked.

The 36-year-old former nurse at the Institute of Mental Health molested patients and filmed them when they were naked.

  • The 36-year-old former nurse molested patients and filmed them when they were naked
  • Some of his victims had been hospitalised in the high-dependency psychiatric care unit
  • He was given jail, caning for what a prosecutor called “repugnant and sickening abuse”

 

SINGAPORE A former Institute of Mental Health (IMH) nurse given the task of caring for patients, including those who were suicidal and had severe mental illness, abused his position and committed sexual crimes against them.

The 36-year-old man, who cannot be named because of court orders, was on Monday (Dec 28) sentenced to four years, nine months and one week in jail and 10 strokes of the cane.

He molested patients and filmed them when they were naked. At the time of the incidents, some of his victims were hospitalised in the high-dependency psychiatric care unit, a ward for patients who are actively disturbed, suicidal or severely mentally ill. 

Other victims included his former colleagues and a pregnant woman who responded to an advertisement he posted on the internet for a photoshoot model.

The man was caught in March by a victim who saw him take an upskirt video of her on an escalator at a train station.

The police arrested him on March 4 at IMH and seized his phones. Four types of videos were found: Upskirt videos of IMH staff and members of the public, as well as videos of IMH nurses changing, patients showering, and of the accused molesting patients.

IMH told TODAY previously that the man was dismissed from his job on March 11 and the hospital had been helping the police with their investigations.

As part of his duties in the high-dependency unit, the man had to monitor patients in the shower to ensure they did not commit acts of self-harm.

Usually, nurses are assigned to wards based on their gender, but the man would occasionally be asked to carry out duties in the female ward by the nurse in charge of the shift.

Investigations revealed that he had filmed nine female patients in the unit.

He also molested a victim at the unit who was restrained to a hospital bed and filmed himself committing the crime. He also outraged the modesty of another patient who had been sedated for aggression.

In a separate incident, the man posted an advertisement online for a pregnant model for a photoshoot. He asked the woman who responded to the advertisement to wear a dress that showed her pregnancy bump and met her at Chinese Gardens.

While instructing her to face away from him, the man took five upskirt videos of the woman before placing the videos in a password-protected application.

The man, who is married with four children, pleaded guilty to eight charges of molestation, insulting a woman's modesty and various acts of voyeurism. Thirty-four other similar charges were taken into consideration. He has been diagnosed with voyeuristic disorder.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran asked for four years and 10 months’ jail and 13 strokes of the cane, given "the large number of offences, the repugnant and sickening abuse of the accused's position" and how the man compromised the physical integrity and dignity of patients in his care.

Nurses are at the heart of Singapore’s healthcare system, he said, but the man instead carried out "egregious abuse at a public hospital", with his conduct striking "at the very ethos of nursing" and threatening to "grossly taint and mar the efforts of healthcare workers everywhere". 

Defence lawyers Mato Kotwani and Ashwin Ganapathy asked instead for a jail term of no more than four years, nine months and a week, and no more than nine strokes of the cane.

Mr Kotwani said that his client's decision to plead guilty stemmed from his remorse. "He is truly sorry for the hurt and pain he has caused to the victims and their families.”

He added that his client made "unqualified confessions to the police, fully assisting in their investigations".

District Judge Luke Tan said he broadly agreed with the prosecution, adding that the accused has "done a great disservice" to the nursing profession.

In response to queries, IMH said that it takes a serious view of the incident and staff conduct, and had fully cooperated with the police in their investigations.

"We had also reached out to the affected staff and patients, addressed their concerns and provided support to them," an IMH spokesperson said.

"Following the charge in court, we have reminded all staff to adhere to the hospital’s code of conduct. We also further tightened our protocol for staff working in mixed-gender wards." CNA

For more stories like this, visit cna.asia

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court crime molestation IMH

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