SINGAPORE—A Briton was sentenced to 1 ½ years in prison and three strokes of the cane on Wednesday, March 3, for molesting a three-year-old girl under her dress for 15 minutes during a lesson with other young children around.
While working as a reading specialist at a language training and literacy center in the western region of Singapore, Richard Christopher Monks had played a video for his young students, according to Today Online.
He then repeatedly caressed the girl’s buttocks and also aimed a mobile phone camera at her buttocks. She later told her mother that “teacher Richard” had touched her.
The 29-year-old had pleaded guilty a month ago to one count of molesting a minor under 14. Prosecutors then pressed for at least two years’ jail and four strokes of the cane, while his lawyer Patrick Fernandez asked for a year of jail and no caning, reported Today Online.
Monks molested the girl in the midst of a language lesson with five other students, aged four and five years old, on Oct 20 in 2018.
The victim, then aged three years and 11 months, attended his lessons every Saturday afternoon. She cannot be named due to a gag order to protect her identity.
Monks conducted the lesson in a classroom with a table in the middle of the room, surrounded by eight chairs. He was aware of a closed-circuit television camera installed there, said Deputy Public Prosecutors (DPPs) Nicholas Khoo and Tan Hsiao Tien.
Monks then used his iPhone to play a video and placed it on the table.
During the video-watching session, Monks molested the victim multiple times over 15 minutes. She expressed her discomfort by fidgeting and turning back to look at him several times but he did not stop.
The CCTV footage also captured him repeatedly pointing another mobile phone camera at her buttocks.
Given that he claimed to have lost this phone in Thailand, it is unclear if any photos or videos he took still exist or have been destroyed, the prosecutors told the court.
A week after the incident, the girl’s parents were preparing to take her to another of Monks’ lessons when she appeared reluctant to go. She then told her mother that “teacher Richard” had touched her.
The girl’s mother lodged a police report at Kampong Java Neighborhood Police Centre that evening and stopped taking her daughter to the language center.
Monks was arrested on Nov 1, 2018 after returning to Singapore from a four-day trip to Thailand.
In sentencing Monks, District Judge Chee Min Ping ruled that the absence of any evidence that he had taken photos or videos “did not prevent the court from finding… that he took steps to subject the victim to further degradation,” reported Today Online.