16-year-old teen gets probation for sexually abusing two welfare home residents in toilet

Elena Chong
The Straits Times
15 August 2016

A 16-year-old who urged a judge not to send him for reformative training for sexually abusing two young residents at his welfare home got his wish on Monday when he was placed on probation instead.

Despite the teen's high risk of re-offending, Principal District Judge Bala Reddy gave him a chance by granting him 24 months' probation after hearing that the boy was receptive to his mother's supervision.

The teenager, who cannot be named, had pleaded guilty to two charges of causing an 11-year-old and a 12-year-old boy to perform a sexual act on him, and one charge of sexual exploitation of a child.

The court heard that at about 11.45pm on Oct 31 last year, the accused got an 11-year-old boy from the dormitory bed next to his to perform sexual acts on him in a toilet. The victim told welfare officers what had happened.

The court heard that the accused also similarly abused the other victim, who was between 11 and 12 years old, in the toilet between Sept 1 and Dec 31, 2014. The victim had borderline IQ and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Six other offences involving this victim were considered during his sentencing.

The prosecution had asked for a reformative training report on the accused.

The court had called for both reformative training and probation reports. Probation was recommended.

The teen, whose parents are divorced, is now living with his mother and her boyfriend who is the sole breadwinner.

Principal DJ Reddy told the accused that he would be sentenced to reformative training if he breaches any of the probation conditions.

The accused has to remain indoors from 8pm to 6am, perform 150 hours of community service, be electronically tagged for six months, attend an offence-specific sexuality treatment programme, and continue his studies.

His mother and boyfriend have been bonded to ensure his good behaviour. A progress review is scheduled in three months time.

The maximum for sexual penetration of a minor is 10 years' jail and a fine on each charge, and for sexual exploitation, a $10,000 fine and five years' jail.