Singapore— District Judge Marvin Bay gave a 54-year-old engineer an 18-day jail sentence on Tuesday (Feb 9) for molesting a woman on a train in Dec 2018.
The engineer entered a guilty plea for one charge of using criminal force to outrage the modesty of the woman, age 39.
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Teh, Shen Ruifu boarded a train on the North-South Line at Sembawang station on Dec 12, 2018.
The woman he molested boarded the train at Ang Mo Kio station at about 7:40 that morning.
She stood to the left of Shen near a door.
“At about 7.45 am, while the train was travelling from Ang Mo Kio MRT station to Bishan MRT station, the victim felt something scratching her right inner thigh.
She looked down and saw the accused person’s right hand touching her right inner thigh over her skirt with a scratching motion,” DPP Teh said.
After she saw what Shen was doing, the woman gripped his hand and yelled for help.
Still holding the engineer, she got off at Bishan station and told Shen to also alight.
One man who had heard the woman shout for help got off the train as well so he could help her.
They also called the police.
Mr Raphael Louis, Shen’s lawyer, called the molestation a spur of the moment act. He added that his client did not actually touch the victim’s skin, and that it was the first time he had run afoul of the law.
Had Shen received the maximum penalty for the molestation. He could have spent as much as two years in jail, been fined, caned, or a combination of the three punishments.
Shen has a PhD in geotech and was associated with the National University of Singapore until 2015. He has also received awards for his research, including one for best Master of Engineering thesis and another for best young researcher paper award at a seminar in civil engineering.
The judge took note of “Dr Shen’s contributions to geo-technological sciences and the construction industry in this country,” the straitstimes.com reports.
But Judge Bay said that the engineer should have known better, being a man in his fifties.
“I do note that the offence was committed in our public transport network and it is essential that all commuters should feel safe and protected from unwanted groping, touches, scratches, or other acts of molestation while using our public transport system,” said the judge.
The court was also told that Shen made contributions to women’s rights group AWARE Singapore after the offence.
The judge noted these contributions, Shen’s previously clean record, and guilty plea.
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