Brock Allen Turner was a 19-year-old high-flyer in Stanford University when he allegedly raped an unconscious 22-year-old woman in 2015.
Instead of being jailed for up to 14 years, the man got away with 6 months’ confinement in the Santa Clara County jail (he only stayed there for half the period) and three years of probation.
It created a large hoo-ha not just in the US but everywhere; there’s even a long Wikipedia page about it.
The issue? The judge was accused of favouring the elites in the US (i.e. white, male and high-class).
Now, what has that got to do with the NUS student molestation case?
Read on because this could well be bigger than the Monica Baey saga.
What Exactly Happened?
According to reports, this happened: last September, 23-year-old Terence Siow, an NUS undergraduate, was on a train on the North-East Line towards Punggol when he spotted a woman. He could not control his sexual urges and started to touch her.
The woman initially moved further away and eventually moved to another seat.
However, that didn’t end: when the woman left the train at Serangoon MRT Station, Siow followed her and allegedly touched her butt.
Allegedly, because you’d soon realise that that might not be true after all.
Anyways, the woman called for help, made a police report and Siow was arrested.
That was just the beginning of everything.
It’s not Siow’s actions that everyone’s talking about. It’s the verdict.
The Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) has requested six weeks’ jail for Siow.
Lest you’re not aware, in a criminal case, there would be a prosecutor who “fights for justice” and a defence lawyer who “fights for the accused”. Think of the prosecutor as a lawyer for the Singapore laws; the “laws” are suing the accused.
But eventually, it’s up to the judge, not the prosecutor, to determine the results.
The prosecutor has argued that it’s not Siow’s first offence; he has been doing it since 2016 but hasn’t been caught before.
However, the judge found that Siow is suitable for probation as his academic results show that he has “potential to excel in life”, and that the offences were “minor intrusions”.
Wait a moment.
Okay, maybe Pikachu isn’t fit to say it since he’s a Pokemon and not a human.
So here I am with the words: Molestation is minor?!
That opened a can of worms, as people related this case to the Brock Turner case: is it really fair to give so many chances a second chance to someone like Siow?
Not to mention that it’s only recently that Monica Baey revealed the cracks in the fabrics of justice.
Victim Spoke Out
Just like Monica Baey, the entire issue might not be as high-profile if not for the victim voicing out her disappointment.
According to a new report by The New Paper, the victim is now psychologically affected.
She said, “I don’t think about what happened all the time. But when I take the train, I am mildly paranoid and aware of my position relative to other passengers…I actively try to sit or stand near other women where possible. I now feel uncomfortable wearing shorts in public and prefer using the lift than the escalator.”
And just like Monica Baey, she has revealed her name even when a court order has protected her identity.
But unlike Monica Baey, she hasn’t revealed her face…though she has openly revealed Siow’s face through her personal Facebook account.
Post in Facebook
A few hours after The New Paper published the scoop, a Facebook profile by the name of Karmen Siew posted this:
Here’s what she’s written:
(** I’ve edited the post for various reasons.)
Yes, it’s me.
1) It was not my buttocks. He ran his finger along my genital area.
2) I was offered $5,000 to compound the case for a lighter sentence. I refused to do so, and this is the resulting (read: not light) sentence.
3) He literally got a “get out of jail” free card because of his academic performance.
4) Brock Turner.
5) I’m not angry anymore. I am just disappointed that the courts are choosing to treat an adult who has committed multiple sexual offences (not only on me, but on others) as a child, but I am not surprised.
6) He is a math tutor.
While it is her personal Facebook profile (it’s registered 12 years ago), she has made that post public and changed her profile image to a screenshot of the molester’s Facebook profile, exposing his full face, name and school.
The additional information isn’t reported in the media as well: she alleged that Siow had run his fingers along her genital area instead of her butt, and she was allegedly offered $5,000 to “compound the case for a lighter sentence”, which she refused.
The plot does thicken here.
About Terence Siow
Doxxing is now a crime, so no one’s going to dig out any info about him.
However, we’re all curious: how good are his results that warrant a probation? How good are his results for him to excel in life?
Mothership did their investigative work and found out, through his profile on an online tuition agency, that his CAP (think of it as GPA) is 4.39 out of 5, which means his current results qualify him for a Honours (Distinction), which is a Second Class Upper—not the best, since the highest is First Class Honours.
And don’t bother trying to find the profile; it has been taken off.
NUS has also taken disciplinary actions against him last October, which included the suspension of his candidature and mandatory counselling.
The Law Minister Has Spoken
One day after the story got viral, Law Minister K Shanmugam weighed in on the issue.
Here’s his post:
He himself was surprised at the verdict, and has spoken to the AGC. Apparently, the AGC officers disagreed with the verdict as well and they intended to appeal.
He also said that we should “avoid casting aspersions personally on judges – they are doing their duty, to the best of their abilities.”
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Who is AGC? Ang Guo Chong? Ang Guang Chin?
No, it’s the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
Attorney-General’s Chambers Intend to Appeal
What are the Attorney-General’s Chambers and why are they involved?
Well, remember earlier, you read that prosecutors “fight for justice”?
To put it in the simplest manner: prosecutors work for the Attorney-General’s Chambers, whereby they kind of “represent” the Government as their lawyers.
That means the AGC is the one who had initially wanted jail for Siow.
As mentioned, it’s still the judge who makes the final call.
The AGC intends to appeal the decision, which means Siow isn’t out of the woods…yet. If they win the appeal, Siow might still be jailed.
Is that win for Karmen Siew?
Online Petition to Jail Siow
An online petition called “Say NO to Favorable Sentences for “Educated” Sex Offenders” has been set up by a certain Kyle Leung, and has since garnered well over 17K signatures in less than 24 hours.
There’s no measurable and specific goal for this petition except to “take a stand” and to “protect our daughters against the flagrant disregard of the severity of sexual offences by our very own powers that be.”
The goal is 25K signatures, and I believe by the time you read this, the target should have been hit. Nevertheless, you can sign here.
Other Molesters’ Punishments in Singapore
There’s no need to look so far back in time to look at other cases.
Just today, a man who molested an air stewardess back in 2017 was sentenced to four months’ jail. The man had touched the lady’s face, grabbed her arm, stroked her right thigh and touched her left buttock.
If you’ve come to our app daily, you’d also know about a father who molested her daughter four times and was jailed for 44 months and given 9 strokes of the cane.
So yeah, don’t pray pray with molestation unless you know Microsoft Excel well.
The New Paper Got the Scoop & Started Everything
Here’s something not that relevant but still important: The New Paper was the first (English?) media to break the story.
Yeah, not CNA or The Straits Times.
In fact, CNA even admitted to it with this last paragraph in their latest article: “CNA was not at Siow’s sentencing. In response to requests from CNA, the State Courts said a copy of the judge’s comments is not available.”
And let’s face it: without the report, I think everyone in the coffee shop would be talking about something else today.
Kudos to The New Paper!