SINGAPORE — A nanny’s husband claimed trial on Tuesday (17 November) to molesting a five-year-old girl whom his wife was caring for.
During the trial, the victim’s father took to the stand to testify how the girl demonstrated how the molest took place. He told the court that on the day after the incident, he and his wife sat down with their daughter to ask her to recount the incident with the aid of a teddy bear clad in panties.
The girl then demonstrated by pulling “out and down” the panties on the teddy bear and stuck her hand into the clothing, to touch the bear’s bare “groin area”.
The man on trial, 69-year-old Tan Wee Tim, is facing one charge of molesting the then five-year-old girl on 12 April last year while the girl spent the afternoon at the home he shared with his wife. The girl, now seven, and her family members cannot be named in order to protect her identity.
While she testified in a closed door hearing on the first day of the trial on Tuesday, her father took the stand after her to tell the court how he found out about the alleged incident and his daughter’s demeanour as she recounted what allegedly happened.
The 42-year-old father said that he found the advertisement placed by Tan’s wife – referred to as Ah Kuan in court – on online ad platform Gumtree on 14 August 2018. The victim’s parents were on the lookout for a nanny as their previous nanny had to stop working to take care of an aged father. Both parents also had to work full-time.
Ah Kuan had advertised her nanny and childcare services from her home, located in Jurong.
The father then took a screenshot and sent it to his wife, who followed up with Ah Kuan about the childcare service. After two visits to Ah Kuan’s home, which she shared with Tan and their daughter, the parents decided to engage Ah Kuan’s services from September 2018.
Things went smoothly until the father received a text from his wife on the night of 12 April last year – he was working the night shift – asking to talk. Sensing that the matter was important, he called his wife, who then told him angrily that Tan had touched their daughter.
“I calmed her down a little bit and asked her for more details… she said she sensed something (was off) that day and she just casually ask (the daughter) but (the daughter) remained very quiet. So she sensed something was wrong, she kept asking and (the daughter) finally told her that the ‘uncle’ touched her,” the man told the court.
The man said he felt “very angry” at that point and the couple decided to terminate Ah Kuan’s services with immediate effect. The couple decided to have a talk with their daughter the next day.
Getting more details from the girl
On 13 April 2019, the family of three had dinner and a play session before the couple settled their daughter down to talk about the incident. They handed her a teddy bear dressed in panties and asked her to demonstrate what Tan allegedly did to her. The man also asked his wife to film their daughter so that they would not have to keep asking her to repeat the incident.
“So we asked her, imagine this teddy bear is you, how did the uncle touch you, she pulled out and down the panty and put her hand in, to me (it) is (the) vagina area,” said the man.
“I felt very angry at that point in time and I also didn’t want to frighten (my daughter) further, I said okay this is what he (did), I and (your) mother will discuss further about what will happen next. But we did tell her that you are not going to Ah Kuan’s house anymore.”
The man observed that his daughter was uncomfortable throughout the exchange as she gave short answers to their questions, unlike how she would elaborate when she was happy. “It gave me a sense she did not want to talk about it,” said the man.
The couple made a police report the following day.
Asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Lim Yingmin about why he made a police report, the man said that the alleged action warranted “very serious investigation” as it was a molest of a very young child.
“If I don’t report this incident to the police, what will happen is they might pick up other children, then something might happen again...,” he testified.
“The third thing is, five years down the road, my daughter would ask me what did I do when the event happened, if I did not do anything, how will I answer my daughter.”
While cross-examining the father, Tan’s lawyer told him that the girl and Tan were actually “very close” and “shared close interaction”. The father disagreed with the statement.
Pointing out that the father had described his daughter’s answers as “short”, the lawyer then suggested that the short response might be because she was not telling the truth. The father also disagreed with this suggestion.
The trial continues on Wednesday with the father resuming the stand.
If convicted of molesting a person under 14, Tan faces a jail term up to five years, or fined, or caned, or with any combination of the penalties.
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