SMU student on trial for allegedly molesting a woman on campus

SINGAPORE – A Singapore Management University (SMU) student who invited a 21-year-old female undergraduate from another institution for an overnight study session allegedly outraged her modesty on campus on Jan 8 last year.

Lee Yan Ru, now 24, faces a molestation charge amid claims that he had violated her while she slept.

On the first day of the trial on Monday (Sept 7), Deputy Public Prosecutor Andre Chong said that after the incident, Lee wiped her neck, face and hair with some tissue paper, which he then threw away.

After the police were alerted, the pieces of tissue paper were retrieved.

An examination by the Health Sciences Authority’s DNA Profiling Laboratory found they contained Lee’s body fluids.

Swabs taken from the woman’s neck and face also produced similar results, the court heard.

The female student cannot be named due to a gag order to protect her identity.

In an earlier interview with The Straits Times, the student said she got to know Lee on Instagram. They also had mutual friends.

The alleged incident happened in a study room at SMU’s School of Economics and Social Sciences.

Sergeant Wong Cheuk Kay, who testified on Monday, said police were alerted at 6.37am.

When they arrived at the scene about eight minutes later, Sgt Wong saw the woman sitting on a bench, while Lee sat a distance away.

The court heard that Lee refused to speak to Sgt Wong and his partner.

The female student then related what happened, said Sgt Wong.

They had been studying until around 2am when she felt tired and they then watched some programmes on Netflix together.

She said Lee suggested that they watch the shows under a table as the lights were “glaring”. While they were under the table, she told Sgt Wong that Lee groped her and tried to kiss her.

She thwarted his advances. At around 4am, she fell asleep but then felt a weight on top of her.

The student told the policeman that she realised Lee was stimulating himself.

After he got off her, she left the room and alerted security guard Woo San Nin, who was on duty at SMU. She also called the police.

Mr Woo, who also took the stand on Monday, told District Judge Sharmila Sripathy he saw a male student kneeling down as though he was asking for forgiveness from the woman.

In an earlier statement, SMU said that case was being taken “very seriously”. Its spokesman also said that the university had embarked on its own internal inquiry.

The trial continues.

If convicted of molestation, an offender can be jailed for up to two years and fined or caned.

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