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NUS student pleads guilty to taking photos of two women showering on campus

NUS student pleads guilty to taking photos of two women showering on campus

Ryan You Jun Chao, 25, is accused of breaking into toilets and taking pictures of women. (Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY)

SINGAPORE: A National University of Singapore (NUS) student pleaded guilty on Friday (Feb 28) to taking shower photos of two women on campus.

Ryan You Chun Chao, 25, pleaded guilty to two charges of insulting a woman's modesty, with two other charges of trespassing into the ladies' toilet taken into consideration.

The court heard that You and the victims, both aged 23, were staying at an NUS residential hall at the time of the offences.

The first incident occurred on Valentine's Day last year. You woke up and felt tempted to check if there were any women showering in the ladies' toilet, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Pavithra Ramkumar.

He walked to the toilet on the ninth floor, where the main door was open and he could hear the showers being used. 

He entered the first cubicle and held his mobile phone over the partition, taking photos of a 23-year-old woman showering.

The victim looked up and spotted You's phone. She shouted and pushed the phone away, causing You to panic and flee to the men's toilet.

The victim filed a police report. 

SECOND VICTIM TARGETED IN TWO WEEKS

You carried out similar actions against a second victim on Mar 5, 2019. He was returning to his room when he felt tempted to check if there were any women showering in the ladies' toilet, the court heard.

He entered the first cubicle again and held his phone over the partition to photograph the second victim showering.

After noticing a shadow outside the cubicle and You's hair above the door, the victim wrapped herself in a towel. She waited until others had entered the washroom and she felt safe enough to continue showering. 

After her shower, the victim noticed You in the pantry. He had gone there to check the photographs he had taken and later returned to his room. 

The victim avoided using the common ladies' toilet after this incident and lodged a police report. 

You admitted that he had deleted the photos before handing over his phone for police investigations.

Recovered shots showed the victims fully nude.

The prosecutor asked for eight weeks' jail, pointing to the "spate of voyeuristic offences, particularly in universities, and the need to protect women from such offenders".

Defence lawyer Raphael Louis asked instead for a short detention order or a fine, saying his client had not planned the offences.

He said You had seen a doctor at the Institute of Mental Health and is still attending counselling sessions.

The judge adjourned sentencing to Mar 20.

The penalties for each charge of insulting a woman's modesty are a maximum year's jail, a fine or both.

NUS said in a statement on Friday that You has graduated after serving out the disciplinary sanctions imposed against him by the university.

These included suspension, deferred graduation, mandatory counselling and rehabilitation sessions. The sanctions form part of his educational record at NUS.

The university had told CNA in December that You’s offences had occurred before tougher sanctions were introduced in June 2019.

NUS said it takes a strong stand against any form of sexual misconduct, and has enhanced the disciplinary framework for sexual misconduct offences, as well as safety and security measures. 

It is also providing greater support for victims, and training for all staff and students to build a culture of respect.

Source: CNA/ll(hs)

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