SINGAPORE: A student from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) repeatedly had consensual sex with a girl nine years his junior, climbing up water pipes to enter the teenager's bedroom.
For three counts of sexual penetration of a minor, and another six charges taken into consideration, the 26-year-old man was sentenced to 18 months' jail on Monday (Feb 17).
He cannot be named due to a gag order protecting the victim's identity, as they were in a relationship.
The court heard that the accused got to know the victim in 2014, as they were in the same cell group in church. They became friends and began dating in October 2017, when the victim was 15.
They first had consensual sex on Oct 26, 2017, when the victim went over to the accused's room after his roommate had left.
They had sex a few more times after this, but broke up in December 2017 after the girl's parents found out about the relationship.
BROKE UP BUT CONTINUED TO HAVE SEX, MET BEHIND PARENTS' BACKS
However, they remained in contact, with the accused giving the teenager a phone to communicate with him behind her parents' back.
They also continued to have sex even though they had broken up, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Grace Teo.
At about 2am on Jan 21, 2018, the accused entered the victim's bedroom on the second floor through a window.
He climbed up the water pipes, and the victim let him into her bedroom, the court heard. He had started meeting her this way in early January 2018, to evade detection by the victim's parents.
They had consensual sex, said the prosecutor. The victim then fellated the accused, and he left through the window.
Court documents did not reveal how the offences were uncovered, only that the victim's father called the police on Jan 24, 2018, reporting that his daughter had had sex with a student from NTU on several occasions.
The prosecution asked for at least 20 months' jail. She said that the accused had exposed the victim, who was a virgin, to the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
She added that his offending conduct "persisted even after the parties had broken up, and even escalated to the use of more deceptive practices to evade detection, for example climbing into the victim’s bedroom in the middle of the night".
Defence lawyers Sunil Sudheesan and Diana Ngiam asked instead for a probation report, or fewer than eight months' jail if the judge did not agree on probation.
THEY WERE STAR-CROSSED LOVERS: DEFENCE
Mr Sudheesan said his client and the victim were "star-crossed lovers".
He said the unfortunate episode started after the victim first kissed the accused, shocking him. They started talking and realised that they had feelings for each other, said Mr Sudheesan.
They then discussed the matter and bought condoms together.
"Unfortunately, young people in love can do regrettable things," he said, adding that the victim was mature and consenting and "was not manipulated".
"This is a case of making love instead of having sex," he said, asking the judge to be merciful.
The judge said he was "not minded to call for a probation report" given the age of the accused, the number of charges and their seriousness, and the young age of the victim.
The penalties for sexual penetration of a minor above 14 are a jail term of up to 10 years, a fine, or both.
If the relationship was exploitative, the penalties go up to 20 years' jail and a fine or caning.