SINGAPORE — A grandfather who had sole guardianship over his young granddaughter sexually assaulted her for over a year while her siblings slept.
The girl's parents had both been incarcerated for drug offences then, leaving her and her six siblings in the care of their 69-year-old grandfather. The family shared a one-room flat in Toa Payoh.
The elderly man was jailed for five years on Tuesday (22 June) after he pleaded guilty to two out of four counts of molesting a minor under 14. The sentence includes a term of six months, which was imposed in lieu of 12 strokes of the cane. The man cannot be caned as he is above 50.
The victim was between nine and 11 at the time of the offences, which happened between 2012 and 2013. The remaining two charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.
The victim, now 18, and her grandfather cannot be named to protect her identity. Both of them are Singaporeans.
When the girl was in Primary 4 in 2012, she complained of body aches after returning home from playing football. The man massaged her with baby oil that night and developed a sexual urge before molesting her beneath her underwear.
He continued to molest the girl in the same manner while giving her massages. Her siblings would be asleep during the acts.
In 2013, while her siblings were sleeping at night, the man instructed the girl to lie on the bed while he climbed on top of her and rubbed his genitals against hers.
The offences came to an end before the girl's mother – the accused person's daughter – was released from prison in 2014.
The man's actions only surfaced when the victim was sexually assaulted by a neighbour between 2016 and 2017. The neighbour was prosecuted in court over the offences.
The girl had not revealed the offences involving her grandfather as he was the only one supporting her family financially, and she did not want her family to suffer.
The grandfather was remanded at the Institute of Mental Health after his arrest. A psychiatric report issued stated that the man did not have paedophilic disorder, but that he was at risk of reoffending as he did not show any remorse for what he did.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Angela Ang sought five years and six months' jail for the man, saying that the offence was a serious abuse of trust. He was the victim's biological grandfather and sole caretaker at the time. Both her parents and the victim herself had trusted him to care for her when the parents were away, said DPP Ang.
The victim was exceptionally vulnerable due to her young age and her broken familial background, added the DPP.
Asked for his mitigation, the unrepresented man simply said, "I am pleading to Your Honour to impose a lenient sentence, please consider my old age and poor health."
For molesting a minor under 14, the man could have been jailed up to five years, and/or fined on each count.
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