SINGAPORE — A former undergraduate with Yale-NUS pleaded guilty to charges of filming four of his female housemates in the shower, over a period of more than ten months.
The 26-year-old is no longer with the university, Yahoo News Singapore understands. During investigations, the man admitted to filming the videos and viewing them to cope with academic pressure.
Appearing in court on Monday (13 January), the man, who is represented by lawyers Josephus Tan and Cory Wong, was accompanied by some 10 relatives and friends.
He admitted to eight out of 24 charges of insulting a woman’s modesty. Apart from the four 22-year-old housemates whom he filmed, the man also filmed upskirt videos of numerous other unidentified women. All the offences occurred between August 2017 and May 2018, as well as between January and 3 March last year.
As he did not post bail, he will be remanded until he returns to court on 31 January for his sentencing.
Tried to deflect attention from himself
At the time of the offences, the man resided in the same suite as five other women, all of whom were students in the university. While they had separate bedrooms, all six shared a common bathroom.
He was caught after one of his housemates, who attended the same church as him, saw a phone pointed at her while she was showering.
On 3 March last year, one of the victims returned to the suite with her boyfriend and took a shower. The man was studying in the suite at the time. He followed the victim into the shower and placed his phone in video recording mode over the door of the cubicle.
The victim soon realised she was being filmed. Upon hearing noises outside the bathroom, she had looked under the gap of the door to see a pair of feet. She then saw the phone when she looked up.
She shouted for her boyfriend but received no response. She then covered herself with a towel and ran out of the bathroom.
Meanwhile, the man fled to the living room and deleted the video he had just taken, as well as other incriminating videos. He then emptied his ‘delete’ folder to permanently delete the evidence. To avoid detection, he also removed his black phone cover.
As the victim emerged from the bathroom, she and her boyfriend approached the man to ask if he had seen anyone entering the suite. The boyfriend asked to inspect the man’s phone but did not see any suspicious videos.
The man lied to the couple that the fifth housemate had entered the suite. He also suggested that the woman lodge a school report.
He also raised the possibility that someone from a party at level 10 of the building might have been the culprit. He led the couple to the party to note down the identities of those who attended the party. They concluded the search after failing to notice anyone suspicious.
The man then left the couple, pretending that he had to give tuition.
The victim escalated the matter to campus security but was told there were no CCTVs in the suite or in the vicinity.
At about 11 pm that day, the woman told the accused that she would lodge a police report, and the man denied being the culprit.
Confessed to his housemates
However, half an hour later, he came clean. He gathered all the housemates and confessed that he was the person who stood outside the victim’s cubicle as she showered. He claimed that he had not activated the video recording mode of the phone and had not recorded any videos. The victim then decided against lodging a police report.
Both the victim’s and the man’s parents met in a meeting arranged by the church, and the victim decided to lodge a police report on 13 May last year. The police conducted a raid later that afternoon and seized the man’s electronic devices, including an iPhone, an iPad, his laptop and a hard drive. Authorities were able to retrieve the deleted videos in a forensic examination.
“According to the accused, he recorded videos of his suite mates showering as it helped him to destress from his academic pressure. After recording the videos, he would store some of them into the hard drive which was connected to his MacBook,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Lim.
“Most of the videos would be automatically uploaded to his iCloud account. He also re-watches the said videos on his handphone whenever he felt overwhelmed with schoolwork,” the prosecutor added.
Apart from filming his housemates, the man had also filmed upskirt videos of women at classrooms within the university.