SINGAPORE: A 23-year-old SAF sergeant was sentenced to 15 months’ jail on Thursday (Jan 11) for having sex with a 13-year-old girl he met on Facebook.
Tan Yong Jin pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual penetration of a minor under 14. Another three charges, including one for asking the Secondary 2 student for a nude photograph, were considered during sentencing.
The teenager cannot be named due to a gag order.
The pair, who were not in a relationship, met on the social network in November 2016. They met in person soon after, and started to exchange messages of a sexual nature.
On Jan 8, 2017, the teenager called Tan and asked him to meet her at Clementi Mall. The pair watched a movie at another mall nearby at about 1pm.
When the movie ended at about 3.30pm, the girl invited Tan to her home.
They intended to have sex at the girl’s flat at Kang Ching Road while her parents were out, Deputy Public Prosecutor Amanda Chong told the court.
After checking that her parents had not returned home, the teenager led Tan to the flat and into her parents’ bedroom. The pair had sex and washed up before the girl’s parents returned home to find a stranger in their flat.
The girl told her parents Tan was a friend, but her mother called the police nevertheless.
Ms Chong urged the court to sentence Tan to 15 months’ jail.
In mitigation, Tan’s lawyer pointed out it was the girl who had invited Tan into her parents’ bed, but conceded that his client “should have known better”.
Tan was “inept at dealing with the opposite sex, so resorted to social media to find female companionship,” the lawyer said.
In sentencing Tan, District Judge Wong Li Tein said that despite the fact that the girl consented to sex with Tan, he was “entirely to blame”.
She was just “a child of 13”, and a man of 23 should have known better, the judge said.
She added that the pair had no genuine relationship. They had met online two to three months before they had sex, the judge said, noting that Tan had made “sexual overtures” from the start.
For sexually penetrating a minor under 14, Tan could have been jailed for up to 20 years and caned.