Alex Lim, the former Wheaton College student who is barred by law from campus, was sentenced on Aug. 4 to 180 days in the DuPage county jail and 30 months of probation for secretly recording and posting video footage of female Wheaton College students in their showers.
His arrest in February 2015 sent shockwaves through Wheaton’s campus, forcing the community to grapple with sexual exploitation and pornography, their consequences and the attitudes and factors that contribute to them.
Charges were brought against Lim after police found evidence that he had recorded five female Wheaton students without their knowledge or consent. Four of the students shared an on-campus apartment, where Lim had recorded them showering by placing a camera designed to look like a wristwatch in their bathroom.
Additionally, a fifth student was secretly filmed while showering in her own home out-of-state, where she had invited Lim to visit her.
Lim posted videos of the women online on a pornographic website, where they could be publicly viewed and downloaded. The videos were watched thousands of times, including one video which was viewed more than 5,000 times.
An investigation revealed that Lim had recordings of other women as well. Evidence logs, used in the case, categorized photo and video evidence by location, including inside and outside of dorm rooms and inside and outside of classrooms. The Chicago Tribune reported that one detective testified to recovering “up-skirt” videos that Lim had filmed at a church.
Originally indicted on nine counts, Lim pled guilty in April to five counts of unauthorized video recording and dissemination — one per student victim. The other four counts, which were lesser charges, were dropped by DuPage county prosecutors as part of a plea agreement.
Prosecutors requested five years in prison, the maximum sentence for a class 3 felony in Illinois. However, Judge John Kinsella ordered Lim to only 180 days in the county jail. According to Paul Darrah, communications manager at the DuPage County State’ Attorney’s Office, 180 days is the maximum jail sentence Lim could receive without being transferred to a prison. The Daily Herald reports he will be eligible for parole after 90 days.
Lim’s jail time will be followed by 30 months of sex offender probation. This could be complicated, however, by Lim’s foreign citizenship. As a citizen of Singapore, Lim’s student visa was voided after his arrest and subsequent expulsion from Wheaton College. The Chicago Tribune reported that federal immigration authorities are already aware of Lim’s sentence. Once his jail sentence is concluded, he could be deported prior to completing probation.
In an email from Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a representative of the Singapore Police Force said the police “do not have any database that publicly lists people who have committed sex offenses.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Kinsella took into account Lim’s clean criminal history, service in the Singaporean military and medical evidence that Lim has experienced brain lesions and an epileptic seizure, which could have contributed to his behavior.
While awaiting sentencing, Lim received permission from the court to be treated for sex addiction at a facility in Arizona. He also lived in Connecticut with an uncle.
Lim’s sentence was handed down after multiple postponements. Before receiving his sentence, Lim reportedly apologized and told the judge that he “sinned against God” and was “swept away by … self-destructive lust.”
Four of the victims submitted statements to the court prior to sentencing, testifying about the impact of Lim’s actions on their lives. Their statements described ongoing pain and fear manifested through physical and emotional symptoms. One victim explained that she still begins to shake in crowded public places, thinking that “someone here may have seen those videos, will recognize me and approach me about them.”
The women reflected on trust that was betrayed and on the difficulty of forming relationships with new people, especially men. One wrote, “I still don’t trust people all the way and believe they are taking advantage of me.”
At the sentencing trial, according to the Chicago Tribune, Kinsella called Lim’s actions “the ultimate demonstration of personal betrayal.”
The Wheaton College Christian Feminist Club will release a statement on The Tide, provided to The Record in advance, regarding Lim’s sentencing. Presidents of the club, spanning from 2014 to the present day, use the statement to call on the campus to remember that his actions are “not an isolated incident” but rather are the consequences of attitudes that suggest “women are objects.” They say Lim’s sentencing is a reminder to “lean into the call to hold one another accountable and safe” in recognition that “lives have been altered, souls scarred.”
In recent years, Wheaton College has stepped up its efforts on campus to combat sexual misconduct. Student Development instituted new mandatory student training designed to enable students to better prevent and respond to sexual harassment, exploitation, assault and violence. They also offered seminars while student and campus leaders led a public campaign of pledges not to “be a bystander” because “it’s on us” to stop sexual assault.
Allison Ash, associate dean of student care & service and Title IX coordinator for students, also announced that a new team of “confidential advisers who are trained in sexual violence response” will be “available 24/7.” These advisers will confidentially relay pertinent information to “student survivors of sexual assault,” providing options for medical care and incident reporting to the college or the local authorities and offering student survivors legal information and resources.
Lim’s 2015 arrest came during a tumultuous time of public scrutiny and reflection for Wheaton College. News of Lim’s arrest was followed up by controversy surrounding a student who threw an apple at another student in Town Hall Chapel for questioning Wheaton’s position on homosexuality. Shortly thereafter, the football team came under fire for performing a skit during a team-building event which included depictions of the Ku Klux Klan.
In the midst of these events, a special time of questions and answers was held with https://thewheatonrecord.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/IMG_0048.webpistration days before student-led worship services of confession and lament lasted late into the night.