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He's a danger to young women: Judge on serial molester

He's a danger to young women: Judge on serial molester

The new State Courts towers at Havelock Square.

SINGAPORE: A serial molester who previously attacked eight women and is back in court for similar offences is a danger to young women and needs to be kept off the streets, a judge said on Wednesday (Jan 8).

Lawrence Goh Koon Yong, 38, pleaded guilty in December to the most recent offences of molesting a Secondary 1 student while she was on her way home, asking another teenager if she wanted to have sex with him and theft.

Goh has previously molested eight victims and was before the judge on Wednesday to be sentenced.

However, it did not go through as District Judge John Ng asked for more views on preventive detention or corrective training for Goh and a defence lawyer volunteered mid-proceedings to represent Goh pro bono.

Preventive detention is a punishment that places a recalcitrant offender in jail for seven to 20 years in order to protect the public from the offender, while corrective training is a long period of incarceration without remission for repeat offenders.

Judge Ng said Goh had reoffended "time after time after time".

"Do you feel safe with him walking in our community?" he questioned the prosecutor. "He's going to pose a danger to young women."

He listed the ages of Goh's victims, with most of them in their teens.

"I don't know about you – I don't feel safe," said the judge. "Based on what I see now, we need to keep him off the streets for as long as we should."

Defence lawyer Rakesh Pokkan Vasu, who was in court for another trial, interjected and volunteered to represent Goh pro bono.

The judge adjourned sentencing to Feb 19 after Mr Rakesh took on the case.

Goh had admitted to molesting a 13-year-old girl on her way home from school in October last year.

He approached her from behind and asked her questions, including if she was in Secondary 1, if she had a boyfriend and if she wanted to go to a dark corner to study.

He then said he wanted to be her boyfriend and grabbed her waist, frightening the victim, who ran home.

A month before, Goh had taken a lift with a 19-year-old woman, going close to her with his arm touching hers and asking her "do you want to do" in Mandarin, intending to ask her to have sex with him.

The woman gave him her number, intending to trick him, before arranging a meeting with him and calling the police, who arrested him when Goh turned up.

Goh also stole a pair of shoes from outside a flat in Commonwealth to replace his damaged footwear.

The penalties for outraging the modesty of a minor are a maximum of five years' jail, a fine, caning, or any combination of these punishments.

Source: CNA/ll(mi)

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