Man admits molesting, sexually assaulting 12-year-old boy who was at public pool for swimming lesson

Man admits molesting, sexually assaulting 12-year-old boy who was at public pool for swimming lesson

A man swims in a pool in Auckland
File photo of a man swimming in a pool. (File photo: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth)

SINGAPORE: A 61-year-old man molested a 12-year-old boy before his swimming lesson at a public swimming complex and sexually assaulted him in the washroom after the lesson was over.

Supermarket sales assistant Lum Siew Hon, now 63, pleaded guilty on Tuesday (Mar 31) to two charges of sexual penetration of a minor and one charge of aggravated molest. Three other charges will be taken into consideration for sentencing.

The court heard that Lum did not know the victim, who was then in Primary 4 and at an unidentified swimming complex for his regular swimming lesson.

Lum also did not know that the victim suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity, and had "very low intellectual functioning" and learning difficulties.

The victim, whose identity is protected by gag order, arrived at the swimming complex on Nov 10, 2018 and headed to the men's washroom to change.

He performed a sex act before heading to the urinals to relieve himself. His actions were seen by Lum, said Deputy Public Prosecutors Gail Wong and Mark Yeo.

Lum went to the urinal beside the boy and molested him before walking away.

The boy went for his swimming lesson as usual, and returned to the washroom with a classmate afterwards to change.

Lum was in the washroom when they entered. He removed his clothes and entered a cubicle, before calling to the victim to join him.

The victim's classmate heard this, but assumed Lum was the victim's grandfather.

After the victim joined him in the cubicle, Lum locked the door before sexually assaulting the boy.

The victim's classmate later saw Lum leaving his cubicle with the victim trailing behind him.

Later that night, the victim told his mother what had happened, and she took him to lodge a police report.

NO MENTAL DISORDER, BUT DEMONSTRATED PAEDOPHILIC INTEREST

The police traced and arrested Lum a day later, and an Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist assessed him and found that he had no mental disorder, but demonstrated paedophilic interest at the time of the offence.

He also found that there were risk factors in Lum that were "highly suggestive of an increased risk of sexual offending", including the steps taken to hide the sexual acts.

Lum is also a single man, "occupationally unskilled with no life partner and a tendency to keep his private life and interests a secret from his family, suggesting that he could have impaired relationships with adults and that it is a challenge for him to find a sexual partner", the psychiatrist found.

He concluded that Lum has, at least, a moderate risk of sexual reoffending.

The prosecution called for eight years' jail, with another six months' jail in lieu of caning, saying that this case is one of "deliberate and persistent sexual assault".

"Parents legitimately expect that they can let their older children use public toilets and showering facilities freely on their own," said the prosecutors. "Such shared spaces are public yet private ... and must be kept safe for all persons, especially children, to use without fear of being sexually violated."

They added that "these brazen acts occurred on a weekend when the complex would have been teeming with people".

The victim was also a vulnerable one at just 12 years of age and of low intellectual functioning, said the prosecutors.

Defence lawyer Sunil Sudheesan asked instead for five to six years' jail, saying his client was a first-time offender who had acted on impulse.

The judge adjourned sentencing to Apr 15. For sexual penetration of a minor, Lum could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined. He cannot be caned as he is above 50.

Source: CNA/ll(mn)

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