Veteran coach gets 21 months' jail for molesting teen athlete
Loh Siang Piow, 75, committed the offence on two occasions while massaging 18-year-old girl at stadium
Veteran track and field coach Loh Siang Piow was yesterday sentenced to 21 months' jail for molesting a teenage athlete twice in 2013.
The 75-year-old, better known in the sports fraternity as Loh Chan Pew, was last month found guilty of using criminal force on the female athlete when she was 18, by rubbing her genitals on two occasions while massaging the back of her thighs.
Loh appeared expressionless as the sentence was announced, and is expected to file an appeal.
District Judge Marvin Bay said: "There is a deeply egregious abuse of trust here. Young trainees are placed in the care of coaches with the legitimate expectation by the trainees, their parents and the public that they will be protected from harm and exploitation."
Both incidents were said to have happened at the old Tampines Stadium on two Sundays between January and March 17 in 2013.
The girl lodged a police report against Loh on July 30, 2016.
During the trial, which began in 2018, the court heard that Loh touched the victim's groin over her tights as she lay on a bench during a massage after a private training session.
At another session, Loh was said to have rubbed her genitals over her tights during the massage and told her to "just relax" when she told him to stop.
Judge Bay said the sentence for the second charge must be significantly heavier than that for the first charge, given that it involved a "comparatively prolonged event" and "extensive intrusion of (the victim's) vaginal area".
The girl submitted an impact statement, which was read out to the court. She said in the statement that the experience of going to trial was "a hundred times more torturous than the experience itself".
"I thought speaking up would be the right thing to do. I never imagined that this would turn into such a nightmare," she added. "I hope more can be done to protect victims of sexual assault who speak up."
Deputy Public Prosecutor Gail Wong had earlier urged the court to jail Loh for at least 24 months for both charges, citing factors including abuse of authority and trust, premeditation and a "patent lack of remorse" on Loh's part.
She also stressed the importance of the sentence reflecting the need for deterrence.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Victor Lee highlighted his client's otherwise good character and medical conditions, among other factors, and sought a jail term of five to six months for the first charge and seven to 10 months for the second, with both to run concurrently.
Loh, previously a deputy superintendent of prisons, was a former national sprinter and coach of 35 years. He also used to be a vice-president of Singapore Athletics, which governs the sport here.
Judge Bay noted Loh's medical conditions, and expressed confidence that the Singapore Prison Service's medical services will provide a high level of care in managing these conditions.
For each charge of outrage of modesty, he could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined. He cannot be caned as he is more than 50 years old.