Man, 36, molested junior colleague, 21, at workplace after sending lewd texts about her body

Osmond Chia
The Straits Times
Apr 11, 2022

A man sent a female colleague sexual remarks about her body on WhatsApp, and later approached her and touched her from behind in an incident in 2020.

The officer in a government agency later extended his hand to the woman for a fist bump but instead molested her in the presence of another colleague.

On Monday (April 11), the man, 36, was jailed for six months after pleading guilty to two charges of sexual assault. Another charge for harassment was taken into consideration during his sentencing.

He cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the victim's identity, and details about their workplace have been redacted from court documents.

According to an online search, the man, who did not have a lawyer, was married in 2014, but it was not mentioned in court if this is still the case.

Court documents said the man was a senior colleague of the victim at a government agency that operates at the entry and exit points of Singapore's borders.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran said the man sent the woman sexualised text messages between March and December 2020 after she joined the same team at work.

In examples cited in court papers, he texted that he would "flirt hard" with the woman if he were single and made lewd comments about her appearance.

While they were working together on Dec 30 that year, the man touched her from behind when the victim ignored his comments about her body.

As she moved away, he followed her and touched her again before she left the office.

Shortly after, the man approached her at her desk and asked for a fist bump to say goodbye, only to move in and grope her.

She moved backwards and knocked into the chair of a colleague, who turned around, prompting the man to rush off.

The woman made a police report after telling her boyfriend about the incident later that day. She left her job soon after.

Seeking six months' jail for the accused, DPP Thiagesh said it was important to deter sexual assault, especially at the workplace by those of a higher seniority.

"Colleagues who are junior in terms of seniority may still be wary about speaking out against their senior counterparts for fear that they would not be believed or supported," he said.

Pleading with District Judge Lim Wen Juin for leniency, the man said he has a newborn baby and faced financial issues.

The judge said the woman had been subjected to a prolonged series of lewd message though she ignored them.

He also agreed with the prosecution that the man's seniority had posed an obstacle for the victim to report the wrongful acts to her employer.

He allowed the man till April 18 to settle his personal matters before serving his sentence.

The Straits Times reported earlier that the man had left the government agency on Feb 1 last year.

For assault intending to outrage the modesty of a person, an offender can be sentenced to jail for up to two years' jail with a fine and caning.

The Straits Times

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