In America, USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar is currently on trial for sexually abusing the girls on the pretext of a medical examination. He faces up to 125 years in jail if found guilty.
In Singapore, an athlete filed a report against Loh Chan Pew, a 73-year-old veteran athletics coach, for allegedly molesting her twice when she was 18.
The woman’s mother, who took the stand yesterday on the first day of his trial, said she had warned her athlete daughter of possible “consequences” in reporting Loh, 73.
The mother recounted what she told her daughter, who had enrolled in a degree programme in 2013: “‘Police will call you now and then. You will have to miss lessons, skip your job’… but she was all ready for it.”
She told the court that her daughter revealed details of the alleged incidents and added that she wanted to report Loh “for the good of the rest of the young girls”.
The mother said her daughter also added: “He did this to us and there is a possibility that he did it to other girls too.”
To protect her identity, the alleged victim and her family cannot be named.
Loh is accused of using criminal force and rubbing the teenager’s genitals on two occasions while massaging the back of her thighs.
The first incident is alleged to have occurred on a Sunday between January and March 17 in 2013 on a bench in Tampines Stadium.
The second allegedly took place on March 17, 2013, on a massage bed inside an equipment room in the same stadium.
Three similar charges involving a 16-year-old female athlete were stood down.
The girl’s father was the first of six prosecution witnesses to take the stand.
He said: “She did not share with me anything other than the incident that cropped up. I thought it was a one-off, and advised her to forgive him (Loh) and move on.
“But she said, ‘Pa, you do not know what he did to me.'”
She snapped at him, broke down and then revealed graphic details of the alleged incident.
“Fathers and daughters do not use such language, and I was taken aback,” he added.
Although his wife had told him that their daughter had made a police report against the coach, he did not see the report himself and did not know the details until his daughter’s teary revelation.
He added: “I felt a sense of regret as I had been sending her to training and disappointed that I couldn’t have done (more).”
Loh is a former national sprinter who won a 4x100m relay silver at the 1973 South-east Asian Peninsular Games.
He remains Singapore Athletics’ vice-president (competitions organising) but is on a leave of absence.
The trial resumes today.
If convicted of using criminal force with the intention of outraging the modesty of a person, he can be jailed for up to two years and/or fined.
As Loh is above 50 years old, he will not be caned if found guilty.
Images: Kelvin Lim / TNP Photo, 123RF.com
Text: David Lee / The New Paper / January 2018
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