Briton who molested 3-year-old girl while working at learning centre gets jail and caning

Richard Christopher Monks pleaded guilty last month to outraging the toddler's modesty in his class.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - A Briton who molested a three-year-old girl when he was working as a reading specialist at a learning centre here was sentenced on Wednesday (March 3) to 18 months in jail and three strokes of the cane.

Richard Christopher Monks, now 29, pleaded guilty last month to outraging the toddler's modesty in his class on Oct 20, 2018.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage taken from the classroom and played in court in February showed him rearranging some chairs for a video-watching session at around 5.20pm that day.

There were six children in the classroom at the time and the victim was the youngest.

The others were between four and five years old.

Aware that there was a camera installed in one corner of the classroom, recording footage from a certain angle, Monks positioned himself behind the children so that he was directly opposite the CCTV camera.

As a result, the children's upper bodies blocked the camera's view of his hands.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Hsiao Tien had earlier said that the lower half of the children's bodies could not be captured from such an angle.

From the footage, Monks was seen positioning himself behind the victim as he played a video on his mobile phone.

The children then leaned over a table to view the phone screen.

The footage showed Monks repeatedly lifting the victim's pink dress and caressing her buttocks with his left hand.

She turned around repeatedly to look at him while he committed the offence.

Monks was also seen using his right hand to hold another mobile phone close to the victim's buttocks, pointing it up her skirt.

The DPP added: "The victim was uncomfortable with the accused's touch, and expressed her discomfort by fidgeting and turning back to look at him several times during the said duration.

"Despite (her) discomfort, the accused continued to touch and caress her buttocks."

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The offence came to light on Oct 27, 2018 as the girl's parents were preparing to take her to the learning centre for lessons but the child was reluctant to go.

When asked why, she said that "teacher Richard", had "touched her" and pointed to her buttocks.

Her mother alerted the police later that day and stopped taking her daughter to the centre.

Police arrested Monks on Nov 1, 2018, shortly after he returned to Singapore from a trip to Thailand.

For molesting a child below 14 years old, an offender can be jailed for up to five years and fined or caned.

This article was first published in The Straits TimesPermission required for reproduction