Thursday, November 5, 2009

> Magician, 68, jailed six years for sex with boy

November 4, 2009 A WOMAN’S call to the police, to report a man walking around naked in the flat opposite hers, led to the exposure of a string of sexual assaults on a 12-year-old boy.

The man, a 68-year-old freelance magician, who was teaching the boy magic, had talked the secondary school student, now 13, into engaging in sex acts with him.

Yesterday, the man, who cannot be named to protect the boy’s identity, was jailed six years for the offences in July and August last year.

He had pleaded guilty in May to four counts of sexual assault. Another 11 charges were taken into consideration.

In sentencing, Justice Choo Han Teck took into account the ages of the boy and the man, the man’s personal circumstances and his lack of criminal history.

He said: ‘The accused did not commit any such offences before, and I am of the view that he would not likely repeat these offences which he had committed in a relatively late stage of his life.’

The penalty for sexual assault is up to 20 years’ jail and a fine or caning but men above the age of 50 are spared the cane.

The man, who is divorced, smiled on hearing his sentence. His son and daughter were in court.

The court heard that the magician met the boy, then 12, in August 2007 after performing at a carnival and asked if he was interested in learning magic tricks from him. The boy was keen and his father agreed to the request.

The boy began going to the man’s flat on weekends to learn the tricks and at times stayed the night. He also tagged along to help the magician.

The two became close and the boy called him ‘godfather’. The man bought him gifts, gave him pocket money and took him out for meals.

In mid-July last year, at his flat, the man asked the boy if he knew how babies were made and if he was a ‘girlie’.

He told the boy to show him his penis to prove he was not a ‘girlie’. The boy did so.

The man then performed oral sex on the boy. He asked the boy to do the same to him, but the boy refused. The man drove the boy home and told him not to tell his parents.

But later that month, the two began performing oral sex on each other. It was on one such occasion – Aug 16 – that the woman in the opposite block saw the man naked and called the police.

When they knocked on his door, he had on a pair of shorts and claimed that he was alone. But the boy was found in one of the rooms.

The man had also taken nude pictures of the boy but the photos were deleted, the court heard.

A psychiatric report on the boy said he was confused about whether he had done anything wrong with the man.

The man’s lawyer, Mr Simon Tan, said his client was feeling empty until he met the victim.

The former school bus driver was despondent after his retirement and was dealt another blow when his wife of 40 years filed for divorce. He was also depressed over the prospect of moving into an old folks’ home because his son was emigrating.

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