SINGAPORE: Just months after being released from reformative training for a previous sex offence, a 22-year-old man lured a teenager he had met online to a staircase and pressurised her into having sex with him.
After the incident, the 13-year-old girl was left with "significant psychological and emotional scars" and diagnosed with a childhood emotional disorder, said District Judge Marvin Bay.
On Friday (Jan 10), Filipino Rojas Gil Dominic Barbosa was sentenced to four years and 11 months' jail and two strokes of the cane for one charge of sexual penetration of a minor.
ASKED TO MEET UP
The court heard that Rojas met the victim through a live-streaming app in on Mar 25, 2018. The girl had told him that she was 13 and in secondary school.
Rojas asked for her number and they began chatting. He invited her to meet up that same day and asked about her relationship and sexual history.
When the girl told him she did not have any previous sexual experience, he asked if she would have sex with him. She was unwilling and kept quiet, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Chee Ee Ling.
Nevertheless, Rojas took the girl to a staircase landing at a multi-storey car park, and asked her again to have sex with him.
She said "no" and shook her head. Rojas cajoled her, saying it would be only "for a while", and "tried to sweeten her and told her she would enjoy it", the court heard.
Eventually, the girl agreed.
They had unprotected sex and Rojas asked her to be his girlfriend. He also told her not to tell anyone that they had had sex, as he had previously been jailed for underage sex.
VICTIM REGRETTED IT, TOLD MOTHER
The victim later regretted her decision and blocked Rojas on all social media platforms.
She also confided in her mother, who made a police report.
The prosecutor asked for at least five years' jail and two strokes of the cane, noting that Rojas had committed the crime four months after being released from reformative training for similar offences.
Not only was he nine years older than the victim, he had previously committed similar sex offences against three young girls aged 12 to 15.
He also used a similar modus operandi by using the Internet and social media to broaden his pool of victims, and failed to be rehabilitated despite being given probation and reformative training.
A report by the Institute of Mental Health found that he had a moderate risk of reoffending because of "problems managing his sexual urges".
The prosecutor also highlighted Rojas' persistence, despite the victim's repeated refusals.
Defence lawyer Ashwin Ganapathy said he did not object to the prosecutor's requested sentence, but asked that the five weeks that Rojas was remanded for psychiatric evaluation be taken into account.
"My client understands that the punishment meted out must reflect society's distaste for such offences," said the lawyer.
"Ultimately my client is sorry for what he's done. He pleaded guilty and saved the court time, and saved the victim the trauma of testifying."
VICTIM LEFT WITH SIGNIFICANT SCARS: JUDGE
District Judge Bay noted that the victim had been left with "significant psychological and emotional scars following this illicit and perverse interaction".
"It is a fact ... that she has been seen at IMH's emergency room for a suicide attempt and act of self-harm," said the judge, noting that she regrets "having sex with strangers".
"I find Rojas' persistent badgering for the victim to give in to his sexual demands and the fact that he took her to a secluded carpark staircase landing to continue his campaign of relentless persuasion until she bent to his will to be especially aggravating," he said.
He also considered Rojas' "relative youth", but said that his history of offending made it "all the more essential" to send a signal that sexual offenders who prey on the young must and will be dealt with strongly in our courts.
For sexual penetration of a minor under 14, Rojas could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.