It was supposed to be a place of refuge.
Instead, a 12-year-old boy became a victim of sexual abuse when he was a resident in the welfare home.
On three occasions in June last year, an older resident made the boy perform oral sex on him.
The names of the abuser and the home cannot be revealed to protect the victim's identity.
The abuser, who was 19 when he committed the offence, was sentenced yesterday to reformative training.
Inmates have to spend between 18 months and three years in a reformative training centre where they follow a strict regimen, which includes foot drills and counselling.
Now 20, the man pleaded guilty on June 6 to one count of sexually penetrating the minor.
Two other charges for similar offences were taken into consideration during sentencing.
In June last year, the boy was outside a toilet cubicle in the home and was about to remove his clothes to place them in a laundry basket when the man walked in, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Siti Adrianni Marhain said.
No one else was around and the abuser asked the boy if he was "okay". After the victim said that he was, his abuser went closer and asked for oral sex.
After the act, the boy quickly went into a cubicle to take a shower.
On July 18, the boy told the home's superintendent about his ordeal. The superintendent made a police report the next day and the abuser was arrested.
Highlighting the aggravating factors of the case, DPP Siti Adrianni said the victim was entitled to a sense of security as he was in a home.
In an assessment by the Institute of Mental Health, the boy said he felt guilty and embarrassed over the incident.
The abuser, who was not represented, wrote his mitigation in a letter that was submitted to Senior District Judge Liew Thiam Leng.
Pleading for mercy, he said that his father was dead and that his mother had abandoned him when he was young.
When contacted, the home declined comment.
For committing the offence, the man could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined.
Other abuse cases in homes
Oct 17, 2007
A former deputy supervisor of an orphanage was sentenced to eight months' jail for ill-treating two boys and causing hurt to six others.
The father of three, who was then 51, pleaded guilty to eight charges and was dismissed earlier that year.
Among his offences: pouring urine on the head of a 12-year-old boy and pouring cold water on the head of another boy in November 2005, slapping six victims for either misbehaving, speaking ill of him, falling in late or playing in the basement carpark.
Thirty-two other charges were taken into consideration.
March 17, 1999
A male volunteer at a children's home was sentenced to 18 months' jail and five strokes of the cane for outraging the modesty of three teen boys there. He was then 36.
After a week-long trial, the aircraft technician was found guilty of four charges of outraging the modesty of two boys. The man, who also coached the boys in football at the home, had admitted earlier to one count of outraging the modesty of the third boy.
This article was first published on JULY 3, 2014.
Get The New Paper for more stories.