A man who molested six girls at Hougang Swimming Complex was sentenced to 20 weeks’ jail on Wednesday (Jul 3).
Indian national Job Mathew Panakkal, 37, was at the pool on the evening of Sep 12, 2018 when he committed the act. The victims were aged between 10 and 13 years old.
According to a police report filed by a social worker, Job pursued the girls by swimming faster than them as they attempted to swim away.
At the time, Job was employed as an infrastructure engineer. He pleaded guilty to three charges of outraging the modesty of a minor, with another four charges taken into consideration. He molested one of the victims twice.
According to court transcripts, Job entered the adult pool at about 7pm and began swimming laps in the first lane. A group of children entered the pool after him, and some girls began swimming in his lane.
“When he swam in the direction of the girls in lane 1, the accused felt the urge to touch them and formed the intention to outrage their modesty,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Victoria Ting.
One of the victims, who was 13, was in the pool when she noticed Job swimming quickly towards her right. As Job swam past, he stretched out his hand and groped her right thigh.
The youngest victim, who was 10, felt two fingers on her left thigh and turned to see Job. Feeling “disgusted and outraged”, she went to the end of the pool and informed her swimming instructor.
Another 12-year-old victim was molested on her buttocks as Job swam past her, tapping her with his hand.
For using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a minor under 14 years old, Job could have been jailed up to five years, caned, fined, or any combination of the three.