15 years’ jail for man with foot fetish who preyed on neighbours, schoolmates, NS mates
A 24-year-old man with a foot fetish who committed sexual offences against 28 known victims over a period of seven years was sentenced to 15 years’ jail and eight strokes of the cane on Monday.
In sentencing, High Court judge Hoo Sheau Peng told the man that he has a long way ahead after he is released from prison. She urged him to comply with any necessary psychiatric and psychological treatment, and to not relapse into committing similar crimes.
When he was between 14 and 21 years old, the man preyed on younger children in the neighbourhood where he lived, his schoolmates and national service bunkmates, and took photographs of his victims’ hands and feet.
He also licked the bare feet of several boys he met online or chanced upon. In one case, when he was 20, he entered his former secondary school wearing his old school uniform and lured a 13-year-old student to a secluded location under the guise of filming a school project.
The man cannot be named because he was below the age of 18 when he committed some of the offences.
He pleaded guilty last week to 10 charges, including two for sexual penetration of a minor and five for aggravated outrage of modesty. Another 33 charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Justice Hoo noted that despite receiving some counselling and professional intervention in secondary school after complaints were lodged against him, the man persisted in his behaviour.
She added: “Unfortunately, his offending behaviour was not adequately addressed or brought to the attention of the authorities even after certain reports were made against him.”
The man was first counselled in 2012 after he inappropriately touched a secondary school classmate and exposed himself. Between 2013 and 2015, he received more counselling and was taken to see a psychiatrist after multiple incidents against classmates and juniors.
A police report was made against him on Feb 28, 2020 by the 13-year-old he molested after trespassing into his former school. He was arrested on March 12, 2020 and released on police bail.
While on bail, he committed offences against three more victims, who lodged a police report against him on Aug 15, 2020. He was re-arrested on Aug 19, 2020 and released on bail the next day.
On Oct 8, 2020, a girl who was seven years old when he molested her in 2013 confided in her teacher about the assault.
She was too young to understand what he had done at the time, but eventually realised that his actions were wrong after attending sexual education classes and watching a documentary about sexual assault with her mother.
He was re-arrested on Oct 15, 2020 and has been remanded to date.
Justice Hoo said in view of his pattern of offending, the hurt and harm he has caused to many young and vulnerable victims, and his risk of reoffending, a stiff sentence was warranted.
However, a degree of leniency was also warranted, given his young age at the time, his borderline intelligence, and the lack of appropriate and adequate early intervention, she said.
In August 2013, at a playground near his house, he told a girl to follow him to a tunnel, where he made her touch him sexually, made her perform a sex act on him, and took photos of her hands and feet.
In 2013, he exposed himself and moved a classmate’s hand downward, but the classmate pulled his hand away in time.
In 2018, while he was doing his full-time National Service, the accused molested a sleeping bunkmate and took photographs of the victim’s feet.
In 2019, he approached a 12-year-old schoolboy at a shopping mall and took the victim to a toilet. He then told the boy to film him licking the victim’s feet, before he exposed himself and told the boy to touch him.