Man who sexually groomed 13-year-old girl jailed for two years

A man who started sexually grooming a teenager when she was 13 years old has been jailed for two years and 10 months.

Nick Chong Seng Cheong, 24, had sex with the girl on multiple occasions paying her for it.

He pleaded guilty last Monday to three counts of sexual penetration of a minor under 14 and one count of possessing obscene films. Seven charges of sexual penetration of a minor were taken into consideration by District Judge Janet Wang during sentencing.

The girl cannot be named to protect her identity.

Court documents state that Chong was a project lead at an engineering company when he committed the offences.

He became acquainted with the victim through chat application ChatIW in October 2017.

They subsequently communicated via WhatsApp, and Chong would ask the girl to send him photographs of her private parts. He also sent her photographs of his genitals and videos of himself performing a sex act.

Chong later suggested they become "friends with benefit", to which the girl agreed, on the condition that she would be paid whenever they engaged in sexual activities.

By that time, the girl had informed Chong she was 13, the court heard. They met up to engage in sexual activities almost every month, from October 2017 to February 2019.

These meetings took place either in toilets for the handicapped at shopping malls or at hotels booked by Chong.

On each occasion after the first, Chong paid the victim between $30 and $50, depending on the sexual activity involved.

He knew the girl wanted the money to buy games, among other things, the court heard.

The court heard that Chong took videos of them having sex in the hotels. His offences came to light after the girl told the police in March 2019 that she had sex with several men.

In sentencing Chong , District Judge Wang noted there was no dispute that there was a "considerable measure of sexual grooming" in this case.

For each offence of sexually penetrating a minor under 14, Chong could have been jailed for up to 20 years. He could have also been fined or caned.

He could have also been jailed for up to six months, or fined up to $200,000, or both, for possessing obscene films.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.