Teen sexually abused neighbour's granddaughter, 9, in her home after religious class four times

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
March 8, 2024

An 18-year-old youth who went to a neighbour’s home for religious classes in November 2021 sexually penetrated the woman’s nine-year-old granddaughter after a lesson.

The offender, now 20, continued committing sexual crimes against the same girl on three other occasions after this incident.

On March 8, the court called for a report to assess his suitability for reformative training.

Young offenders sent to the training are detained in a centre to observe a strict regimen that can include foot drills and counselling.

He had pleaded guilty to two charges of sex offences involving the girl. Six other charges will be considered during sentencing.

He cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the girl’s identity.

Deputy public prosecutors Claire Poh and Maximilian Chew stated in court documents that at the time of the offences, he lived on the same floor as the victim’s grandmother and attended religious classes the woman conducted on weekday evenings.

The victim was then staying with her grandmother on weekdays and the offender attended one of the religious classes at around 8pm some time in November 2021.

After the class ended, he sat beside the girl on a sofa and the pair began watching videos on his mobile phone.

Noticing that the victim’s grandmother, who was on the same sofa, had nodded off, the offender sexually assaulted the girl.

The DPPs said that the victim felt embarrassed and confused about what had happened. But she did not confide in her family members about her ordeal.

He targeted the girl a second time when he attended another religious class at the same woman’s home some time between November 2021 and early 2023.

When the woman was not looking, he asked the victim to follow him to a toilet and made the child perform sexual acts on him.

Within the same period, the offender targeted the child for the third time after religious classes at her grandmother’s home.

He committed sexual offences against the victim for the fourth and final time at the same unit on Jan 23, 2023.

Eight days later, the victim’s teacher caught the girl writing notes stating “free hugs” and referred her to a school counsellor.

After some questioning, the victim told the counsellor that the offender had touched her in an inappropriate manner.

The school alerted her family and the grandmother accompanied the child to lodge a police report.

Officers arrested the offender on Jan 31, 2023, before he was released on bail.

According to a report from an Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist, the victim had complained of insomnia, loss of appetite and flashbacks about the acts of abuse.

Quoting the report, the DPPs said: “She is also scared of males and has difficulty trusting others.”

The offender is expected to be sentenced on April 2.

The Straits Times

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