SINGAPORE — Abandoned by their father when they were babies, two brothers turned to their godfather as the father figure in their lives.
However, the 32-year-old Singaporean man used both boys to satisfy his lust instead. He sexually penetrated the older boy, who was aged 12 at the time, three times. He also molested the younger boy, who was then aged 10 to 11.
At the High Court on Monday (22 March), the man pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault by penetration of a person under 14 years of age. Another charge of sexual penetration of a minor against the elder boy, and a charge of molest against the younger boy will be taken into consideration for his sentencing, which has been adjourned to 13 April.
Separately, the man admitted to a charge of voluntarily causing hurt to a bus driver, which will also be considered for his sentencing.
Victims called abuser 'papa'
The boys' biological father had abandoned the family when they were babies and returned to Myanmar some 10 years ago. They were left with their mother, who was close friends with the man's wife. The man and his wife were godparents to the boys and had known them for at least three years prior to the offences.
The boys addressed the the man's wife as “mama” and the man as “papa” or “daddy”. The man who is unemployed, and his wife lived in a one-room at Punggol and both receive social assistance.
In August 2019, the boys and their mother were evicted from their home. The mother than contacted their social care worker and was lodged at the Singapore Anglican Community Services crisis shelter on 24 October 2019 while awaiting a rental flat.
After hearing this, the man and his wife offered to let the boys stay with them at their flat so that the man could spend more time with them.
At the time, the boys' mother was under a safety plan by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) due to her lack of adequate parenting skills, according to the prosecution. The care workers considered the man's offer to be appropriate upon assessing the man and his wife.
The boys and their mother stayed at the flat from 25 October 2019 to end-December 2019. They would often go out as a group for meals and outings. The boys enjoyed staying with the man as he would play video games with them, according to the prosecution.
The man and his wife became parental figures to the boys, with the man signing their consent forms. On 31 October 2019, the man insisted to care workers that he wished to have the boys withdrawn from their school’s after-care programme so that he could spend more time with the boys at home.
He also asked to become the boys’ legal guardian and for them to transfer school. His requests were rejected.
On the night of the offence, the man was laying next to the elder boy on a mattress while the rest of the family was asleep. While facing the boy’s back, he felt a sexual urge and decided to take it out on the victim.
The man had not been sexually active at the time as his wife had an infection and would decline his regular requests for sex.
The man then took off his pants, pulled down the boy’s pants, and sexually assaulted him. The boy had wanted to shout for help but could not as the man had covered his mouth.
Several days later, the man asked the same boy to shower. The boy’s mother would let the man shower the victim, as she did not know how to shower him after the boy’s circumcision.
In the shower, the man asked the boy to sit on the floor and open his mouth. He then sexually assaulted the boy. He turned the boy around and sodomised him.
“The accused knew that the victim had a quiet and reserved personality and was unlikely to raise complaints. The accused believed that there was little risk of his sexual assaults of the victim coming to light,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kee En.
The incidents only came to light when the younger brother was preyed on by the man. The boy later asked his elder brother if anything had happened to him and the elder boy then confided in him about the man's abuse.
The boys did not tell their mother until they moved into their own rental flat. Both boys are currently under the care of MSF.
The prosecution is seeking at least 19 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane, while the man's lawyer R Gupta argued for 17 years and 24 strokes of the cane. For sexual penetration of a minor under the age of 14, the man could be jailed between eight and 12 years, and caned no less than 12 strokes, on each count.
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