SINGAPORE: A police station inspector who sexually harassed and molested two female officers over several years was sentenced to nine months’ jail on Monday (May 15).
He was investigated after other officers saw him molesting one of the victims.
The 45-year-old man, who cannot be named due to gag orders protecting the victims’ identities, pleaded guilty to three charges of molestation and one charge of insulting a woman’s modesty.
Another seven charges were taken into consideration.
The court heard that the offender was a police officer holding the rank of station inspector. He was attached to a ground response force of a neighbourhood police centre.
Between 2015 and 2019, he sexually harassed two female police officers, now aged 27 and 34, who were his subordinates.
In the first incident in October 2015, the offender was attending to a call for police assistance while he and the older victim were on patrol together.
When the victim reached into their operational vehicle to retrieve some forms, the offender observed her bending over and made a lewd remark.
The victim felt deeply uncomfortable at his remark, taking it to be a comment that was both sexual in nature and insulting towards her modesty.
The offender later admitted in investigations that he had been referring to a sexual act in his remark.
In November 2015, the offender was with several team members including the older victim at a team-bonding event in an escape room.
They were in a confined space and tasked with solving puzzles to escape. While the victim was reading a clue, focused on a puzzle, the offender walked up to her and touched her chest.
Shocked, the woman pushed his hand away, but the offender touched her arm instead and began asking if she had managed to find a clue.
He later admitted to investigators his intention to grope the victim.
MOLESTED YOUNGER VICTIM
In August or September 2017, the offender went on patrol with the younger victim. He drove a police vehicle while the woman sat in the front passenger seat.
The victim had a mobile data terminal on her lap, a piece of police equipment. When the offender stopped at two traffic lights, he picked up the equipment directly from the woman’s lap, touching her inner thighs near her private parts.
After the second time, the victim moved the equipment away from her lap and placed it elsewhere in the vehicle.
On May 5, 2019, the older victim was near the police centre’s armoury with other officers, who were waiting to draw their weapons.
The offender walked up to the victim who was seated on a parapet. He stood in front of her and grabbed both her thighs with his hands.
The other officers saw what happened and an investigation into the offender’s actions started soon after.
The Singapore Police Force received information that the victims had been sexually harassed by the offender while on duty and at workplace events.
The older victim shared that she did not feel safe in the offender’s presence at the workplace because of the various incidents.
The prosecution sought between nine and 12 months’ jail for the offender.
Defence lawyer Azri Imran Tan of IRB Law asked for six-and-a-half to eight months’ jail instead.
Mr Tan cited his client’s plea of guilt, genuine remorse, cooperation with authorities and contributions to the public service as a career police officer of 24 years and “general good character”.
He said his client had provided key details about his offending to the police.
The offender was a career civil servant, completing his duties without incident while he was with SPF. He served his national service with SPF and rose through the ranks until he became a station inspector, receiving awards, testimonials and commendations, said Mr Tan.
He said his client is married, with a teenage son, and his wife remains supportive of him.
He also suffers from a medical condition that has exempted him from the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) for years and requires medication.
“The defence accepts that no person should have to go to work in fear of being sexualised,” said Mr Tan. “Our client recognises he was wrong, can only apologise and admit said wrongdoing.”
The offender was allowed to begin his jail term in June.
In a statement to CNA after the sentencing, a spokesperson for the police said they promptly commenced investigations against the offender when they were notified of the offences in August 2019.
“Counselling support was also offered to the two victims,” said the spokesperson.
The offender was removed from operational duties in September 2019, and suspended since Apr 12, 2022, when investigations were completed.
SPF said it would commence internal action against the offender after his conviction on Monday.
“Officers of the Singapore Police Force are expected to uphold the law and maintain high standards of discipline and integrity. We deal severely with officers who break the law, including charging them in court,” said the spokesperson.