'Fleeting' touch cost him $10k

'Fleeting' touch cost him $10k

SINGAPORE - An air steward was fined $10,000 yesterday for molesting a student at Zouk in January this year.

Salvadoran national Henry Bernardo Cortez Cerrato, 27, who was working for Qatar Airways, pleaded guilty to touching the 24-year-old's private parts through her jeans at the Jiak Kim Street nightspot at 4.07am on Jan 25.

The court heard that sometime after midnight, the victim and her friends entered Zouk and made their way to the bar counter. Her friends ordered alcoholic drinks but the victim did not consume any.

Cerrato arrived at around 3am. About an hour later, the victim was near the bar counter when she moved aside slightly to let Cerrato pass.

However, upon nearing her, he molested her and walked off.

The victim grabbed his shirt collar and questioned him, but he kept quiet and walked away.

The victim subsequently told her friends about the matter. They went round the nightclub looking for Cerrato and when they found him they alerted the club's security officers. Police were called and he was arrested.

Cerrato had touched the victim only fleetingly, said his lawyer, Louis Joseph.

District Judge Eugene Teo said the fine to be imposed must be of a sufficient amount to show that this kind of shameful act should never be repeated.

The maximum penalty for molestation is two years' jail, a fine and caning.

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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