They fully trusted him with their three sons as he was then working in the boys’ school.
Instead of paying back their trust, the family friend abused the boys, destroying their lives by robbing them of their innocence and dignity.
The man, now 52, was working as a school operations support assistant in a primary school in the western part of Singapore when he sexually abused all three youngsters between 2009 and February 2013.
On one occasion, he even performed obscene acts on the two younger boys while they were in the same room.
Yesterday, the man, who started out in the primary school as a security guard, pleaded guilty in court to three counts of committing indecent acts on the boys and two counts of sexual penetration.
Twenty-nine other charges for similar offences and two offences under the Films Act involving an uncertified film and five obscene ones will be taken into consideration during sentencing.
He cannot be named to protect his victims’ identities.
We will instead refer to the oldest boy as Ben, the middle one as Carl and the youngest brother as Dennis.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Winston Man said Ben was just 11 when the man befriended him in 2009. The boy trusted him as he was a staff member at his school.
At first, the man would accompany him home from school.
After that, he started to take him to the zoo and to various shopping centres.
The man later got close to the boy’s family and befriended his younger brothers.
DPP Man said he even bought his victims gifts such as shoes and clothes.
The man focused most of his attention on Carl as he thought the boy’s parents neglected him. He also felt that Carl was more compliant than his brothers.
DPP Man said: “The victims’ parents entrusted their children to the accused on the many occasions he took them for outings and meals as they thought that he was genuinely concerned for their welfare.”
He added that before the offences came to light, the boys’ parents were grateful for the man’s help in caring for their children as they worked very long hours.
The man, who is represented by lawyer S. K. Kumar, showed his true colours in late 2009 when he took Ben to a staircase landing at Block 406, Bukit Batok West Avenue 4, and performed an indecent act on him.
Later that year, he took Ben to a second-storey staircase landing in the same block of flats.
By then, the boy knew he was about to be sexually abused, but he followed him out of fear. While there, the man performed oral sex on him.
The court heard that he took Carl on an outing to Hong Kah North Community Club on December 2012.
He asked Carl to accompany him to a male toilet and forced the boy to perform oral sex on him.
About two months later, the man took Carl, who was 13, and Dennis, then 12, to his flat in the western part of Singapore.
He lured the boys into a bedroom before performing indecent acts on them on a bed.
The man’s perversions only came to light after he sent the children’s mother a text message on March 16, 2013, asking if Carl could join him at Boon Lay Community Centre.
He told her he wanted to take the boy out shopping for school shoes.
Carl kept quiet when she showed him the message.
Dennis, who was nearby, urged his brother to tell their mother about his ordeal. The two boys told their shocked mother about what the man had done to them.
Ben told her about his own experiences when he came home later that day. The boys’ parents made a police report four days later and officers arrested the man on March 22, 2013.
The case has been adjourned to Oct 4. For each count of committing an indecent act on a boy, the man could be jailed up to five years and fined up to $10,000.
For forcing a boy to perform oral sex on him, he could be jailed up to 20 years and fined. The man cannot be caned as he is above 50 years old.
A version of this article first appeared in The New Paper.
(Photo illustration: TNP)