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Student care ‘guardian’ turned ‘predator’ jailed 10 years for sexually abusing 8 boys

SINGAPORE — A “guardian” turned “predator” of eight young boys at a student care centre was on Wednesday (Feb 22) sentenced to 10 years’ jail for 13 counts of sexual abuse.

SINGAPORE — A “guardian” turned “predator” of eight young boys at a student care centre was on Wednesday (Feb 22) sentenced to 10 years’ jail for 13 counts of sexual abuse.

The man, 66, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victims who were aged 8 to 11, was convicted last month after a 14-day trial last year.

He intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence, and is out on S$100,000 bail.

“Instead of guarding and protecting them, he took advantage of the victims and became their predator. The fact that the victims addressed him as Uncle XXX (this name also cannot be reported because of the gag order) was a mark of their affection and respect for him,” said District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim, who had strong words for the serial molester.

The man started working at the student care centre in a primary school from January 2011 on the recommendation by a pastor.

During his employment, which lasted till September 2013, he sexually abused at least eight boys by touching their private parts, performing fellatio on some of them, and asking them to do the same to him.

These offences came to light on the afternoon of Sept 13, 2013, when a colleague and two other students caught him touching a boy inappropriately under a table.

The centre suspended him the same day.

Over the weekend, the man told three of his victims that he was under investigation by the centre and instructed them not to disclose to anyone that he had touched them, the court was told.

When he was summoned for a meeting on the molestation allegations, the man was “not shocked” and “did not seem to be denying” the acts.

The centre’s manager spoke to five boys that afternoon and suspected that more victims were involved. The following day, she went to the police.

Officers reached out to every student the man had had contact with at the centre, conducting 84 interviews in all.

At trial, the prosecution called 17 witnesses, including the eight victims, another student, two guardians, the human resource manager and the centre supervisor.

In its closing submissions, the prosecution charged at the man for his “evasive and untruthful” conduct on the stand, noting that he had initially admitted to the police that he had touched two of the boys inappropriately.

While these offences constitute the man’s first brush with the law, he should not be considered a first-time offender, given the sheer number of charges and victims involved, said DJ Hamidah.

Chiding his lack of remorse, she said: “The accused (has) clearly abused the trust reposed in him ... And he tried to suborn victims ... by contacting and asking them not to disclose to those who were investigating him what he had done to them. There is absolutely no remorse here.”

The man could have been jailed up to 20 years and/or fined and/or caned for each charge of sexually penetrating a minor.

For outraging the modesty of a victim younger than 14, he could have been jailed up to five years and/or fined, with caning, for each charge.

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