Man pleads guilty to sexually violating 12-year-old boy with low IQ at swimming complex
SINGAPORE — When he spotted a young boy masturbating in the men’s toilet of a public swimming complex, Lum Siew Hon went over and touched the boy’s private parts. He later lured the boy into a cubicle and sexually violated him.
SINGAPORE — When he spotted a young boy masturbating in the men’s toilet of a public swimming complex, Lum Siew Hon went over and touched the boy’s private parts.
He later lured the boy into a cubicle and sexually violated him.
Lum, now 63, pleaded guilty on Tuesday (March 31) to molestation and sexual penetration of a minor. He will be sentenced on April 15 and remains in remand.
A psychiatrist from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) said that Lum demonstrated “paedophilic interest” and had at least a “moderate risk of sexual reoffending”.
His victim, who has learning difficulties, was in Primary 4 at the time of the offences, which took place on Nov 10, 2018. Since April 2018, the boy, who has for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has been going to the Child Guidance Clinic at IMH, where he was also assessed to have very low intellectual functioning and moderately low adaptive functioning skills.
The court heard that Lum, a former supermarket sales assistant, met the boy for the first time on the day of the offences, and Lum did not know about the boy’s level of intellectual or adaptive functioning.
The boy regularly took lessons on Saturdays at the public swimming complex. The location of the pool was removed from court documents.
That afternoon, the boy to the men’s toilet to change into his swimming trunks before his lesson. After undressing, he sat on a bench and masturbated before going over to the urinals to urinate.
Lum saw this and went to the urinal next to the boy’s, then reached out and touched him before walking away.
The boy then went for his swimming class, which ended at about 5pm. He and another 10-year-old classmate went to the toilet to change, bumping into Lum again.
After Lum undressed and entered a cubicle, he called out to the victim to join him. The boy complied.
Lum then closed and locked the door. The boy's classmate assumed that Lum was the victim’s grandfather, thought nothing more of it and went to another cubicle to shower.
In the cubicle, Lum told the victim to undress and performed two sex acts on him, before getting the boy to return the favour.
They stopped after a short while and Lum left the cubicle, followed by the boy.
A swimming coach, who did not know Lum or the victim, was in the toilet and saw this. He quickly retrieved his belongings, changed his clothes and left.
The victim showered in another cubicle before heading home, but told his mother what had happened later that evening. They then filed a police report.
Dr Derrick Yeo from IMH assessed Lum and noted that he did not have prior sexual offences or antisocial personality traits. However, he found some risk factors for reoffending:
The presence of deviant sexual interests and victim choices in Lum’s attraction to a teenage male stranger in a public place, and Lum taking steps to hide his acts.
Lum being a single male, occupationally unskilled with no life partner and having a tendency to keep his private life and interests a secret from his family. This suggested that he could have “impaired relations with adults” and found it challenging to find a sexual partner.
Lum showed a lack of empathy with the victim.
‘DELIBERATE AND PERSISTENT’
The prosecution is seeking eight years’ jail, with an extra six months’ jail in lieu of 11 strokes of the cane. Offenders above the age of 50 cannot be caned by law.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Gail Wong and Mark Yeo said: “This is not a case of fleeting unwanted contact. It was deliberate and persistent sexual assault… Parents legitimately expect that they can let their older children use public toilets and showering facilities freely on their own.
“Such shared spaces are public yet private, where persons change, shower and place themselves in positions of vulnerability, and must be kept safe for all persons, especially children, to use without fear of being sexually violated.”
Lum’s lawyers — Mr Sunil Sudheesan and Ms Diana Ngiam — asked for five to six years’ jail instead.
Mr Sudheesan said that Lum had gone to the toilet to dye his hair, but “unfortunately other instincts took over”.
While Lum had shown paedophilic interest at the time, the lawyer stressed that he had not shown this “in any other way or instance”.
Another charge of possessing obscene films will be taken into consideration for sentencing. Mr Sudheesan said that as these films involved heterosexual sex with adults, his current offences were “one-off” and he was not a paedophile.
Molestation of a minor carries up to five years’ jail, a fine, caning, or any combination of the three. Offenders who commit sexual penetration of a minor can be jailed up to 20 years and fined or caned.