Probation for boy who stared at woman's breasts, told another that he was 'horny'

Wan Ting Koh
·Reporter
·5 min read
Hand reaching out
PHOTO: Getty Images

SINGAPORE — A 16-year-old boy who followed three women and later molested or insulted their modesty was given two years of probation on Wednesday (16 December).

The Secondary 4 student, who cannot be named due to his age, had stared at one of the women’s breasts. He told her he had sexual desires for girls who wore shorts and had big breasts, and then said that he had taken his sister’s underwear and smelled it.

Addressing the court on Wednesday, the boy, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder and autism spectrum disorder, apologised to the court ahead of his sentencing.

“I really regret it, my (grandfather) told me not to do it again. Nowadays, when I am with my mother, I don’t even look at girls. Every night when I sleep, I keep telling myself not to do this again...it’s wrong and I should not do those evil and wretched things. I know it’s all wrong, I hate myself for it,” he said.

Thy boy earlier pleaded guilty to one count of molest and two counts of insulting the modesty of a woman, with four other similar charges taken into consideration for sentencing.

Facts of the case

On 4 February, the boy approached a 40-year-old woman at a traffic junction near Block 112 Serangoon North Avenue 1 and asked her for directions to NEX Mall. The woman pointed to a bus stop on the opposite side of the road and continued on her way. However, the boy continued following her.

He tried to make small talk with the woman, who ignored him. At one point, the woman confronted the boy and the latter reached out to touch her right breast.

The following month, on 31 March, the boy tapped an 18-year-old girl’s shoulder and told the girl he recognised her from a fishball noodles stall. The victim said he had the wrong person, and continued on her way in the vicinity of Serangoon North Community Centre.

The boy trailed her and tried to talk to her. He sat opposite her as she entered a cafe and stared at her breasts. He then said that he had sexual desire for girls dressed in shorts with big breasts and added he had smelled his sister’s underwear.

On 8 July, he harassed a girl who was of the same age. The victim was on her way home when the boy approached her to ask what the words “pornography” and “horny” meant, and added that he was “horny”. He then told the victim that all females were sexual objects.

Feeling uncomfortable, the victim headed back to school and her teacher was informed.

Risk of reoffending

During his sentencing hearing, a probation officer told the court via videolink that he found the boy unsuitable for probation given his lack of close supervision and lack of compliance to medical and treatment plans. Probation Officer Melvin Chua pegged the boy’s risk for general and sexual reoffending as high.

Chua said that the boy continued to have access to “risky media” at his grandparents’ place, such as YouTube and his grandfather’s phone, and continued to access videos of “sexy” K-pop female stars. The boy was also allowed to leave the house unsupervised.

The probation officer said he had “limited confidence in the parents’ ability to follow through with tight supervision to medical regime” and was concerned that they might relax measures once their son appeared to progress.

In reply, the boy told the court that he had stopped watching “risky” videos. His father added that if his son wanted to watch a YouTube video, other family members would watch with him to ensure that the content was safe.

The father told the court that either himself or his wife would be converting their job to a part-time position in order to supervise their son. Both work in the family business.

Said the father, “Because of work commitments last time, we have not taken this final step. If this is necessary to help (our son) change, we will be willing to do it.”

District Judge Seah Chi-Ling then asked the parents how they would ensure their son does not reoffend when he is outside the home or in school. The father replied that after his son gets his N-Level results on Thursday, he could attend online courses from private institutions.

His mother told the court, “Before all these charges, actually he’s been a very good boy. To us, that he actually committed all these crimes is a shock to us also. I believe all along we were having a very close relationship with him. He shared a lot of things with us, even those crimes he committed. Actually, during mealtime, he will share everything (whether) happy or unhappy.”

“I would believe he want to turn over new leaf to be (a) good boy, as (during the) past few weeks, he (has) been telling us that he actually improved a lot already.”

In granting the boy probation, DJ Seah considered that the boy had no criminal record, had medical conditions and that his parents had committed to step up in their supervision.

As part of his probation, the boy will have to abide by a time curfew of remaining indoors from 10pm until 6am. He will also be placed on the Electronic Monitoring Scheme for a period of 6 months, or until his national service enlistment, whichever is earlier.

The boy will have to undergo psychiatric treatment and comply with medication and psychiatric treatment. His parents have also been placed on a $5,000 bond to ensure their son’s good behaviour.

He will next appear in court on 16 March for a review of his case.

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