SINGAPORE: An American MMA instructor was jailed four years on Thursday (Mar 2) for having sex with two 15-year-old girls and filming the acts for his own “perverse pleasure”.
When Joshua Robinson’s apartment was raided, officers seized 5,902 obscene films, including 321 films of child pornography. The haul is believed to be the largest collection of child pornography seized from an individual in Singapore.
Robinson, 39, pleaded guilty to nine charges: Three of having sex with minors under 16, five for making and possessing obscene films and one for showing an obscene film to a six-year-old girl. Another 20 charge were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Robinson was caught in June 2015, two days after his second victim “had a mental breakdown and cried” and went to the police.
FILMED WITHOUT CONSENT
Robinson met the girl, 15, on social networking site MeetMe in early 2015. By June, they had exchanged phone numbers and Robinson began to pressure the girl into meeting in person.
They exchanged nude photographs at Robinson’s insistence, and he described the sexual acts he would perform on her if they met up. He also told the victim he had a fetish for schoolgirls in uniform.
The victim, who had been teased and bullied at school because of her weight, told Robinson she was insecure about her body. Robinson sought to assure her, saying he was “more interested in how open you are sexually”.
They met on Jun 23, 2015 at Clarke Quay MRT station, across the road from Robinson’s apartment at Riverwalk Apartments. The victim wore her school uniform and no panties, as Robinson requested, and he took back to his apartment on the 19th floor.
At the apartment, the girl felt nervous and called a friend. She was still on the phone when Robinson led her into his bedroom, stripped naked and had sex with her. He filmed it on camera but the girl had no idea, assuming that he was “just multitasking” when he was on his phone during the encounter.
Later that day, the girl told her parents about what happened and they took her to the police. Robinson’s apartment was raided two days later.
Officers found thousands of obscene films during the raid. They also found a folder labelled “Fifteen”, in which Robinson had saved 12 films of him having sex with another 15-year-old girl he had met two years before, on dating site OkCupid.
Robinson first had sex with the girl in his apartment in September 2013 and on multiple occasions after. The victim said Robinson was “tall and muscular”, and she did not dare to stop him.
He also filmed the acts without her permission, and when she asked him to delete the videos, he refused, saying they were for his “viewing pleasure”.
"A SEXUAL PREDATOR"
In July 2015, a month after he was arrested and released on bail, Robinson showed a six-year-old girl an explicit video of his girlfriend performing a sexual act on him.
The girl’s father had brought her along to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Singapore’s gym at Peace Centre. While her father was busy training, Robinson approached the girl and showed her the video, before instructing her not to tell anyone.
She told her mother later that day.
Deputy public prosecutor Nicholas Lai sought a jail term of four to five years for Robinson, calling him a “sexual predator” who “groomed and morally corrupted his young victims” and “coaxed them into having sex with him”.
Robinson had sex with both victims on their very first meeting, DPP Lai said. “He should have known better than to have initiated an illicit sexual affair with not one, but two 15-year-old girls who lacked the maturity and understanding that (Robinson) was merely using them to satisfy his sexual desires.”
“HIS LIFE IS DEVASTATED”
Robinson’s lawyer, Mr Mervyn Tan, said his client’s life “is totally devastated by this incident” and he is “deeply remorseful”.
Mr Tan submitted over 10 testimonials written by Robinson’s family and friends, including his mother and girlfriend. They described him as a talented animator with a passion for martial arts and a generous heart. He had done well at work, was a respected MMA instructor and donated regularly to charity, the letters said.
Robinson, who has lived in Singapore for at least six years, has a YouTube channel in which he uploads free instructional videos on martial arts and animation. He has also hosted several MMA competitions and taught the sport in schools, Mr Tan said.
Before his arrest, Robinson worked at visual effects company Double Negative. But since he was charged, he has been struggling to make ends meet, and had to survive on his savings and the goodwill of friends, his lawyer said.
He argued that the two victims were never threatened or forced into the sexual encounters, and that one of the victims had even assured Robinson that it was not her first sexual encounter.
Robinson had “acted foolishly without thought”, the lawyer said. “He has indeed learned a harsh lesson, one that he is unlikely to forget.”
For sexual penetration of a minor, Robinson could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined, for each charge.
For the possession of obscene films, he could have been jailed up to six months or fined at least S$500 for each film, up to S$20,000.
Editor’s note: The Attorney General’s Office has clarified that the offences for which Robinson was charged were not cases of “sexual assault”. This story has been updated to reflect this.