Online petition for harsher sentencing of convicted paedophile

Online petition for harsher sentencing of convicted paedophile
PHOTO: The Straits Times and Change.org

An online petition has been started on Charge.org, asking for a harsher sentence for convicted paedophile Joshua Robinson.

The 39-year-old American mixed martial arts (MMA) instructor was found guilty on Thursday (March 2) for having sex with underage girls and possessing child pornography.

He was sentenced to four years imprisonment by district judge Crystal Ong who said "the law must come down hard on such individuals so as to specifically deter them from re-offending and also to deter others from committing such acts against vulnerable young persons."

The petition was started by a Ms Sarah Woon, who claims she is a close family friend of a 6-year-old girl whom Robinson had shown an explicit video while she was waiting for her father who was training at the gym.

Ms Woon wrote in the petition: "As a parent and an early childhood educator advocating for the voiceless in our country (and children everywhere, with the fact that upon release this paedophile could be anywhere around the world, abusing his mixed martial arts trainer's credentials), I find this unacceptable and absolutely intolerable.

"Unfortunately, the 6-year-old in this traumatic case is a daughter of a close friend and it absolutely breaks my heart and those of all our friends and family."

Ms Woon started the petition on Sunday and as of Monday morning, it had garnered over 1,910 supporters.

Among a number of those who have shared the petition on Facebook is renowned Thai mixed martial artist and entrepreneur Chatri Sityodtong.

He shared the link on his Facebook page on Monday, calling for martial artists to "stand up together against evil".

on Facebook

As martial artists and human beings, we must stand up together against evil. If you are a true martial artist and/or a...

Posted by Chatri Sityodtong on Sunday, 5 March 2017

The petition comes after numerous comments were posted on news reports and social media about the relatively lenient sentence for Robinson.

In an interview with TODAY, the dad of the 6-year-old girl who was shown porn by Robinson said he was outraged by the man's four-year jail sentence. He also said that the Robinson is well-known in the martial arts industry here and even taught in schools.

In fact, it has also been revealed in The Indepedent that Robinson had been a "poster boy" once for Contact Singapore, a campaign to attract global talent to work in Singapore.

Here's a video of Robinson being featured in the video:

Update (March 7, 10.20am): Ms Woon has replied to questions sent by AsiaOne regarding the petition and her reasons on starting it. The 40-year-old, who is in early childhood education, said: "We see people ranting and raving about their dissatisfaction about the sentence on Joshua Robinson's case - channelling it towards a unified appeal in the hopes of redressing the sentence was our goal."

She also told AsiaOne that the family of the 6-year-old girl is aware of the petition and that she was "incensed that such an atrocity occurred to a family that I knew personally."

However, she declined to comment on how long she has known the family for.

klim@sph.com.sg

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