Man, 49, jailed for underage sex

A 49 year old sales executive was sentenced to 15 months in jail yesterday for twice having sex with a 15-year-old minor last year.

But District Judge Low Wee Ping warned S. Ravi Chander, who is married with two children, that the prison term could have been twice as long.

"I am shocked by the difference in age between you and the girl," the judge said. "You are fortunate that the prosecution is not asking for both sentences to run consecutively to make it 30 months. If not, I would have considered it."

The girl in this case is the one 63-year-old gynaecologist Ong Theng Kiat pleaded guilty to having sex with. His case will be mentioned again in November.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz told the court yesterday how in January last year, the girl signed up with online ad website Locanto, claiming she was 18. In June that year, while looking through the profiles of men on the website, she came across Ravi's and sent him a text message. She said she was 15 and in secondary school.

He asked if she had a boyfriend, was sexually experienced, and if she wanted to have sex with him. She agreed.

They met for the first time one weekday evening that month, when he picked her up in his van and drove to Nepal Park in North Buona Vista, where they had sex.

The following month, they had sex in a multi-storey carpark in Bukit Batok.

The girl lodged a police report on Sept 18 last year, after confiding in a church friend.

Ravi was eventually charged with three counts of sex with a girl below 16, and one of committing an indecent act with a young person.

DPP Sharmila said an aggravating factor in this case was the big age gap - more than 30 years - between the minor and Ravi. Knowing that the girl was just 15 did not deter him, she said, adding that the minor's consent to the acts was irrelevant: "The law is paternalistic in seeking to guard young girls like the minor from their precocious desire for sexual experience."

Ravi pleaded for leniency, but the judge said the law had to be strict to protect young girls as he handed the accused 15 months each for the two counts of sex with a minor.

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