Trainee who was allegedly molested by athletics coach told by father to 'forgive' and 'move on'

Wan Ting Koh
Reporter
Singapore Athletics Vice President Loh Chan Pew is on trial for allegedly molesting a teenage athlete under his charge. Photo: Screen shot of Loh in YouTube video posted in 2011

The father of a track and field trainee who was allegedly molested by her coach had told his daughter to forgive the perpetrator if the incident was “one-off”.

He was testifying on the first day of trial into the alleged offence committed by Singapore Athletics Vice President, Loh Chan Pew, 72, in the State Courts on Monday (22 January).

The father, who cannot be named, said his daughter, an 18-year-old trainee then, tearfully recounted to him how her coach had molested her.

Loh is accused of using criminal force and rubbing the genitals of the teenager on two occasions. The first was said to have occurred between January 2013 and 17 March 2013 on a bench in Tampines Stadium. The second incident allegedly took place on 17 March 2013 on a massage bed in an equipment room in the same stadium.

The victim cannot be named to protect her identity. Loh has three other similar charges involving a 16-year-old athlete, which have been stood down.

The veteran coach, who was a national sprinter and has groomed national athletes during his decades-long career, took a leave of absence from his post in Singapore Athletics in August 2016 following the allegations.

The victim’s father was the first of six prosecution witnesses scheduled to take the stand. He told the court that he had accompanied his daughter, then an aspiring athlete, to one training session and observed that the two had a “instructor and trainee relationship”.

He told the court that his daughter, who “always wanted to represent Singapore”, had a “high regard” for Loh where training was concerned but that she did not speak much about him otherwise.

However, following the incident, the victim revealed to her father that Loh had massaged her as part of his training process and that he had molested her.

When the father first knew of the incident, he said he was reluctant for his daughter to take further action against Loh.

“I thought it was a one-off situation, maybe she should just continue and move on,” he said, adding that his daughter should “forgive the man” and move on if it was “one-off”. “She said in tears, ‘Pa you do not know what he did to me’.”

According to him, his daughter had filed a police report before telling him of the alleged incident.

“I felt a sense of regret as I had been sending her to training and disappointed that I couldn’t have done (more).”

Loh is represented by lawyers Lew Chen Chen and Victor Lee from Chambers Law. The trial continues.

If convicted on using criminal force with the intention to outrage the modesty of a person, Loh can be jailed up to two years and/or fined on each count. He cannot be caned as he is above 50 years old.