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Former jockey jailed for having paid sex with 13-year-old boy he met on Grindr

Former jockey jailed for having paid sex with 13-year-old boy he met on Grindr

The Grindr app on a phone in Los Angeles. (Photo: AFP/Chris Delmas)

SINGAPORE: A former professional jockey was sentenced to one-and-a-half years' jail on Friday (Jul 26) for paying a 13-year-old boy for sex.

Malik Erasmus Aslam, 41, pleaded guilty to one charge each of sexual penetration of a minor and of making an obscene film. Five other charges were taken into consideration.

The court heard that Aslam chanced upon the victim's profile on gay dating application Grindr last January.

He contacted the boy, whose identity is protected by gag order, and after some discussions, they agreed that Aslam would pay the boy S$130 for sex. 

Aslam asked the boy for his age via the application, and the victim said he was 17, even though he was 13.

The teenager turned up at Aslam's flat on the evening of Jan 30, 2018.

"Despite the small stature and youthful look of the victim, the accused took no steps to verify the victim's age upon the meeting for the first time," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Lim.

They had sex and Aslam paid the boy S$130 in cash.

More than a week after this, the boy returned to Aslam's house for a second session. This time, Aslam took a video without the boy's knowledge.

The boy's father discovered what had happened and filed a police report on Feb 12, 2018.

Malik was arrested and a 38 second-long video of the second sexual encounter was found on his phone.

GREAT DISQUIET, INTRUSION, WITH MONETARY EXPLOITATION: PROSECUTOR

The prosecution called for at least 18 months and three weeks' jail, saying that offences against children create "great disquiet".

He said the form of penetration represented "the greatest intrusion", with the "highest risk of physical, emotional and psychological damage".

In addition, there was monetary exploitation involved, and Aslam had approached the victim on Grindr for the sole purpose of sex, said the prosecutor.

He had also filmed the boy without his consent or knowledge.

Defence lawyer Nichol Yeo said his client used to be a professional jockey, but was asked to leave the Singapore Turf Club because of ongoing criminal proceedings.

"He is no longer allowed to ride racehorses and has lost his livelihood," said the lawyer, adding that Aslam was the sole breadwinner of his family as a single father of three kids, with an elderly mother to provide for.

"Because of the nature of the offence, my client has suffered a great deal of embarrassment," said the defence counsel. "He feels a lot of shame. He has his family, his parents and young children to face."

VICTIM SAID HE WAS 17: DEFENCE

Mr Yeo emphasised that in order to register for an account on Grindr, one needs to confirm that he is 18 years old.

"I'm not pushing the blame to the victim, but the victim has obviously said he was 18, and he registered an account on the app," said the lawyer. "My client asked the victim how old are you - he said he was 17. This was the second time that the victim had misrepresented his age."

He said his client had "absolutely no reason" to suspect that the victim was under 16, or "even worse, under 14".

The second time they had sex, it was the victim who initiated it, saying he needed money again and gave Aslam a discount of S$30.

The lawyer said there was no premeditation in this case, and said it was "a fair bargain".

"Obviously, the law protects the victim here," said Mr Yeo. "That's why my client is here today. But the victim was no babe in the woods."

In response, the prosecutor said: "No fair bargain can be struck with victims as young as 13 years old, as they are not mature enough to make an informed decision - firstly about sexuality, second about ... more carnal sexual practices, and third about financial incentives."

Aslam could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned for sexual penetration of a minor under 14.

For making an obscene film, he could have been jailed for up to two years, fined up to S$40,000, or both.

Source: CNA/ll(gs)

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