Two staff charged with child abuse at Pertapis Children's Home

Two staff charged with child abuse at Pertapis Children's Home
File photo showing members of the press at the grounds of the Pertapis Children’s Home off Yio Chu Kang Road on 14 February 2014.

SINGAPORE - Two employees of the Pertapis Children's Home were charged on Thursday for abusing children at the home.

Local media reported that Muhammad Abdul Gani, 26, had ill-treated eight victims aged between four and eleven, between 2012 and January last year. He faces 10 charges of ill-treating five boys and two girls.

In two of the charges, Muhammad is alleged to have put a four-year-old boy inside a cupboard, and on a separate occasion in 2013, grabbed his head below his ears and lifted him off the ground.

In another instance, he kicked a chair that a girl was standing on, causing her to fall off. And in January last year, he allegedly slapped the same girl, then 10, on her right cheek.

It is understood that he was a welfare officer and religious teacher at the time of the alleged offences.

Another employee, Dadiz Joanne Joy Coloma, 29, was charged with one count of ill-treating a child at the home. Coloma, a Filipino, who was working as a social service assistant, allegedly sat on the back of an 11-year-old girl as she lay face down on the floor for three minutes. The act was likely to endanger her safety.

The incident occurred in December 2013.

Both of them are still employed at the home and do not work directly with the children. They were ordered to stay away from the victims while court proceedings are ongoing.

Both have been granted bail and will be in court again on May 18 for a pre-trial conference.

In February 2014, the Ministry of Social and Family Development file a police report after receiving information that some children residing the home may have been "inappropriately punished physically" by some of its staff.

Those convicted of ill-treating a child or young person can be fined up to $4,000, or jailed for four years for each charge, or both.

cynloh@sph.com.sg

 

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