Singaporeans are not happy with a court’s decision to sentence Joshua Robinson, the American mixed martial arts coach found guilty of having sex with two minors and owning the largest child porn collection ever seized in Singapore, to just four years behind bars.
The 39-year-old received the sentence last week following investigations that proved he sexually exploited two 15-year-olds between September 2013 and June 2015. A raid also led to the discovery of 5,902 obscene films in his possession, 321 of which featured children between the ages of two and 16.
Singaporeans angry with the ruling have since launched a petition, calling it “absolutely intolerable.” At least 27.000 people have signed it so far, according to the BBC. The outlet cited some comments saying:
“This is totally absurd. A four year sentence for a pedophile? What kind of laws do we have here? It’s never about the nationality but the seriousness of the crime.”
“This isn’t an issue about locals versus foreigners. This is about a tough enough sentence to deter would-be offenders for a crime that may have lasting effects of a lifetime.”
“This is taken more seriously in other nations. Why isn’t our justice system looking at that? Robinson will probably be out in two years for good behavior. This is infuriating.”
But in a press release published on Wednesday, Singapore’s Public Prosecutor defended that the sentence was appropriate as the victims whom he had sex with consented to the acts. Because they were also above 14, the offense of “statutory rape”, in Singapore’s terms was not committed.
Caning, which other netizens urged as appropriate, was not provided simply because it was outside Robinson’s crimes.
Yet Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam said sentences for offenses like Robinson’s must be “relooked” at. He told the media (via Channel NewsAsia):
“I do think that the sentences for such offences committed by Robinson need to be relooked at. That is why I have asked my ministries to study this. I have asked my officials to consider what approaches are necessary for offenders like Robinson to be dealt with more severely through higher penalties.”