A serial molester who abused two young girls on their way to school was sentenced to seven years' preventive detention due to the risk he posed to society.
Odd job worker Lee Kia Kit, 48, has a history of molestation offences over the last three years. But prison time failed to change him and he was back to his old ways soon after his release each time, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Paul Wong Chun Yi.
District Judge Ng Peng Hong agreed that to protect the public, Lee, who is mildly intellectually disabled, had to be put behind bars for a substantial period.
On March 3, he kissed the cheek of a 13-year-old student near a bus stop in Bedok North Avenue 2. He had approached the girl, told her not to be afraid and that he was her friend, and then suddenly kissed her.
Two days later, he approached a 15-year-old girl at the open carpark of Block 510, Bedok North Street 3. He placed his hand on her shoulder and asked her repeatedly where she was going.
He continued holding her by the shoulder to prevent her from leaving. He then touched her and rubbed his hand up and down her chest. She was so badly shaken that she stood there for some time even after he had fled.
The judge highlighted that outraging the modesty of a girl by wrongfully restraining her was a serious offence which carried between two and 10 years' jail and mandatory caning.
In another court yesterday, a 57-year-old man who touched a 10-year-old boy living near him was jailed for a year and eight months.
Teo Koon Tian had been convicted of a similar offence against a 13-year-old boy in 2004 and was sentenced to 15 months in jail plus nine strokes of the cane.
This time, he was spared the cane because of his age.
But District Judge Siva Shanmugam highlighted the seriousness of the latest incident because of the significant age disparity, the persistent nature of the act and the fact that he had committed the offence in a public place near the boy's home.
On July 18, Teo had approached the boy as he played with his mobile phone at a void deck in Yishun, told him he was "cute and handsome", and touched him twice on the cheeks.
Although the boy ignored him, he sat down next to him and rubbed his thigh repeatedly despite the victim's attempts to push his hands away.
Teo later walked away but was arrested after the boy's family saw him loitering in the area while they were on their way to a police station to make a report.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Joshua Lim, referring to Teo's previous conviction, said: "This is a case of 'once bitten, not shy'."
This article was published on Aug 8 in The Straits Times.
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