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Nadine Chua and Vihanya Rakshika
The Straits Times
Dec 6, 2023
A 59-year-old man has been accused of sexually assaulting a two-year-old girl.
The Malaysian, who is a Singapore permanent resident, was charged in court on Dec 6 with one count of using criminal force to a person below 14 years old with intent to outrage modesty. He cannot be named because of a gag order to protect the victim’s identity.
According to court documents, the man had allegedly used criminal force on the toddler by placing his right hand inside her diaper and using his fingers to molest her.
The incident happened on Nov 9 between 1pm and 3pm. The location of the alleged offence was redacted from the charge sheet.
The Straits Times has learnt that the offence took place in a pre-school. In response to ST’s query, a spokesperson for the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said the man, who is a non-teaching staff member, has been dismissed by the pre-school.
“ECDA will not allow the staff to work in the pre-school sector while investigations are ongoing,” the agency added.
The prosecution said the man is believed to be involved in other similar cases. The judge granted the prosecution’s application for the accused to be remanded for one week, and for him to be taken out for investigations.
The case has been adjourned to Dec 13.
Those found guilty of using criminal force to a person below 14 years old with intent to outrage modesty can be jailed for up to five years, fined, caned, or receive any combination of such punishments.
ECDA said it was made aware of the case on Dec 5, and has instructed the pre-school in question to closely monitor its children and provide close supervision and guidance to its staff.
“We will be working with the pre-school to ensure the safety and well-being of enrolled children,” the agency added.
ECDA also stressed that before any staff can be deployed to pre-schools, it will check if they have any previous criminal offences involving children, or have been barred earlier from working in the pre-school sector.
“ECDA expects all pre-schools to report all serious incidents that affect the safety of children within 24 hours,” it said.
“If it is proven there is unreasonable delay in the reporting, we will take the pre-school to task.”