Singapore — A 29-year-old British national has admitted molesting a three-year-old pupil during class at a local language training and literacy centre.
He pleaded guilty on Monday (Feb 1) to one charge of using criminal force to outrage a minor’s modesty.
The court heard that Richard Christopher Monks, who was called “Teacher Richard” by his young pupils, was employed at a language centre which trained students between two-and-a-half and 12 years old.
The victim, who was 3 years and 11 months old at the time of the offence, attended lessons taught by Monks every Saturday and was the youngest student in a small class of six.
On Oct 20, 2018, the student went for her weekly class. Around 5.20 pm, Monks made the students sit on one side of a table to watch a video that he was playing on his phone. Monks placed his phone on the table for the children to watch and sat behind the students — opposite a surveillance camera he knew was in the room.
The way he made the children sit blocked the surveillance camera’s view of his hands and the lower halves of the children’s bodies. After he played the video, Monks repeatedly slid his hand under the victim’s dress and molested her.
The surveillance footage was played in court and showed the victim appearing uncomfortable at his touch. She can be seen fidgeting and turning back to look at Monks several times but he continued to molest her.
It was only a week later that the crime came to light. The girl’s parents were getting ready to take her to her next class with Monks on Oct 27 but she appeared reluctant. When questioned, the girl told her mother that Monks had touched her. She said this took place during the previous lesson and pointed to her buttocks when asked where Monks touched her.
The girl’s mother lodged a police report that very day and ceased sending her daughter to the language centre.
Monks left Singapore for Thailand that same day and was arrested a day after he returned to Singapore on Oct 31.
Investigations showed that Monks had repeatedly pointed his mobile phone camera at the victim’s buttocks when he molested her but he claimed he had lost his phone in Thailand. The police were not able to determine how many photos or videos he had taken.
Monks will be back in court for mitigation and sentencing on Wednesday. He could be imprisoned for up to five years and/or fined and/or caned for using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a minor. /TISG
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