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He needs professional help

Francis Anthiraya's family should seek help to stop him from molesting again, two psychiatrists said yesterday.

Dr Adrian Wang, a consultant psychiatrist at Gleneagles Medical Centre, said that those with mild mental retardation would have difficulty controlling their impulses.

He said they were prone to judgment errors because they were not able to think clearly about consequences.

While a jail term will remind Francis that he can be punished, he will still have a propensity to re-offend, Dr Wang said.

"A multiple-pronged approach is required", he said.

"The most important thing is social support, such as financial help, support groups or social service to remind them (about the consequences) of committing a crime."

EDUCATION

Dr Brian Yeo, consultant psychiatrist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, said a last resort could be the use of medicine to control the patient's sexual urges.

"It would reduce his testosterone level, but it would not treat the root of the problem," he said.

He highlighted the importance of sex education, which may be awkward for families to talk about.

Someone like Francis would also benefit from living in a supervised home, whose staff would be able to address his urges, said Dr Yeo.

Both psychiatrists agreed that professional help would be important for his recovery.

"The prison term would protect the public from him, but it is for his own sake in the long term to seek professional advice," said Dr Yeo.