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Singapore

Man jailed for molesting female subordinate, who left the company over the incident

SINGAPORE: After being molested by her supervisor, a woman felt uncomfortable working at the company and eventually quit because of the incident.

The 31-year-old supervisor was sentenced to six months' jail on Tuesday (Oct 20) after pleading guilty to one count of molestation, with another charge taken into consideration. He cannot be named due to gag orders protecting the victim's identity.

The court heard that the accused had been working at the company for almost four years when the victim, who was 24 at the time, joined the firm as a logistics coordinator. 

She was under the man's supervision and had been working for about three months when the offences occurred.

At about 4.30pm on Mar 27, 2018, the victim had finished her work at the warehouse when she went to a staircase landing that was the designated smoking area for employees.

She sat on a chair to smoke, and the accused joined her. He stood in front of her and asked her a question, but when the victim looked at him to answer, he grabbed her by the jaw and kissed her on the lips without her consent.

The victim tried to call a friend on her phone so she could have a reason to leave, but none of her friends picked up.

The accused asked her for another kiss, and the victim pushed him to get him to leave. The man then grabbed her breast before he left.

The victim was "terrified and shocked", said the prosecutor, and began to feel uncomfortable working at the company because of her supervisor's actions.

"She thought that her employer would not believe her due to the accused's longer time with the company. Shortly after, the victim left the company sometime in April 2018 due to what had happened," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Ho Linming.

He asked for at least six months' jail, saying that the offence inflicted psychological harm on the victim and its effects "cannot be ignored".

READ: Man jailed for molesting colleague while working late in office

As the victim's supervisor, the man had betrayed her trust, the prosecutor said. There was also "a clear power imbalance" between the two.

Defence lawyer S S Dhillon said his client pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity and had no previous convictions.

He said the man, an Indian national, has been working in Singapore for more than four years and living here since November 2014.

"Your honour, he is deeply remorseful and regrets his actions and that's why he took his plea at the earliest available opportunity," said Mr Dhillon. "His employment will be terminated and he will be repatriated back to his country and that will be sufficient deterrent punishment in itself."

He said his client "respects the laws of Singapore" and wishes to apologise to the victim.

The judge said the man's culpability was high as he was the victim's supervisor, but took into account his remorse. He backdated the man's term to Jul 15, when he was remanded.

For using criminal force to outrage the victim's modesty, the man could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these punishments.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)

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