Harbouring a fetish for young girls, a 39-year-old man used social media platforms to lure victims, then secretly filmed them engaging in sexual acts with him to add to his stash of child pornography videos.
Joshua Robinson, who successfully preyed on two 15-year-olds between September 2013 and June 2015, was on Thursday (March 2) sentenced to four years’ jail, as the judge described him as a sexual predator.
When the law caught up with Robinson, officers who raided his apartment found 5,902 obscene films, of which 321 videos featured children between the ages of 2 and 16. This is believed to be the largest child pornography video collection seized from one person in Singapore.
Robinson, a mixed-martial arts instructor, faced 29 charges in total, ranging from sexual penetration of a minor to making an obscene film. The prosecution proceeded with nine of these charges, with the remaining taken into consideration during sentencing.
In March 2015, the American used the pseudonym “Tristan” to contact a 15-year-old girl on a social media website. He told her she looked good, and asked for more photographs of herself. The conversation ended after she declined his request.
Months later, she posted a drawing online, and he contacted her again to praise her artwork. They exchanged numbers thereafter.
He claimed that he was 27, and told the girl that he had a fetish for young girls in uniform.
“I have wanted to find as young as possible. I think 13 would be ultimate. But 15 is youngest,” he said in a text message to her.
When she said that she was insecure about her weight, he told her that he accepted the fact. “He took full advantage of her own insecurity about her body image … so that he would get emotionally closer to the victim,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai.
During the third week of June, Robinson said that there was no point in chatting online unless they met up. He instructed her to wear her school uniform without underwear and met her at Clarke Quay MRT Station on the morning of June 23, before they went to his apartment at Upper Circular Road. In the apartment, he filmed the sexual acts that he performed on her.
“As (she) was engaged in sexual activity with the accused, she noticed that he was using his handphone at all times. She was unaware of what he was doing at first and assumed he was just ‘multi-tasking’ on his handphone,” said DPP Lai.
After the meet-up, she had a mental breakdown and filed a police report.
During investigations, the police found 12 obscene videos of Robinson with another 15-year-old girl on his laptop. It turned out that he got to know her from a dating website in 2013.
They had at least three sexual encounters between September 2013 and September 2014.
While Robinson was on police bail, he showed a six-year-old girl an obscene video of himself at a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym at Peace Centre. On July 27, 2015, the girl had accompanied her father to the gym, and as he trained, Robinson approached her to show her the obscene video.
DPP Lai described Robinson as a prowler on the internet who sexually groomed and morally corrupted his young victims.
“The victims were 15 years old when the accused, who was two-and-a-half times their age at the material time, coaxed them into performing sexual acts with him… From the get go, the accused had preyed on the victims’ youth, naivety and vulnerability to satiate his sexual lust,” said the prosecutor.
Agreeing with the prosecution, District Judge Crystal Ong said that Robinson demonstrated a propensity for committing sexual acts with young girls, although a psychiatrist ruled out any mental illness such as pedophilia.
Defence lawyer Mervyn Tan acknowledged that it was wrong to use social media to “lure and attract” victims. But he also argued that the films in Robinson’s possession were for private consumption, and not meant for circulation.