SINGAPORE — He acted as a father figure to two sisters who grew up in a broken family and were placed in a Children's Home, and sexually assaulted them when they were on home leave.
The 53-year-old man, who is the boyfriend of the girls' mother, was sentenced to 23 years’ jail on Monday (28 June) at the High Court. The sentence takes into account a jail term of six months, which was imposed in lieu of 24 strokes of the cane. The man cannot be caned as he is above 50.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault by penetration of a person under 14 and one charge of molest. Another nine charges, most of which are for sexual offences against the victims, were taken into consideration for his sentencing.
Both victims, then in their teens, had been placed in a Children’s Home as their mother had been unable to care for them. They only returned home on some days to spend time with their mother.
The girls’ mother, a 53-year-old Singaporean, had stopped staying with the girls’ biological father shortly after the birth of her younger daughter. She stayed separately with the girls and officially divorced on 27 August 2019.
The offences happened to each girl over different periods – the younger girl was between 10 and 12, while the elder girl was 17 then. The younger girl is currently 14, while her elder sister is 24. None of the parties involved can be named to protect the victims’ identities.
The younger girl and older girl were admitted into a Children's Home in 2011 and 2008 respectively, as their mother had no means of caring for either. Both girls were allowed to leave the Home for permitted outings and when they were on home leave.
The woman met the man in 2010 at a coffeeshop. He was introduced to the girls a week later. When the woman and the man began dating, he began providing for her financially.
In 2012, the woman gave birth to her boyfriend’s child. This child was also admitted to a Children's Home in 2013, as the woman was similarly unable to care for the child.
Both girls addressed their mother’s boyfriend as ‘father’. However, the man began molesting the younger girl in 2017, with the acts becoming more intrusive over the year.
On a day between 30 June 2017 and December 2018, the woman left her younger daughter alone with the man in the flat, as the man said he could care for the girl.
After the woman left, the man checked through the kitchen window to make sure that she had left the vicinity before asking the girl to go into his bedroom. The girl refused the man's request at first as she knew his intention, but she later complied as she feared incurring his wrath.
In the bedroom, the man asked her to remove her shorts and underwear before he sexually assaulted her. He also tried unsuccessfully to rape her. At this point, he remembered that he had a young daughter of his own, and realised it would be difficult to commit the act on young girls. He stopped his action momentarily, but resumed sexually assaulting the girl in other ways instead.
After the offences, the man left the girl alone in the flat to attend a horse-racing event despite his earlier promise to take care of her.
On another occasion, while the man and girl were alone, he forced her to perform a sexual act on him.
Offence against elder sister
The older girl was sexually abused by the man between 5 August and 22 September 2015.
On the day of the incident, the older girl was on the run from her Children’s Home and was at her residential unit with her mother and the man. While walking past her, the man squeezed her breast as he felt aroused. He forbade her from telling her mother about the incident and the girl complied, fearing that she would have to return to her Children’s Home if she were to disclose it.
The younger girl revealed the man’s offences when she was interviewed by a researcher in school in May 2019. Her school and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) were alerted. However, there was some difficulty locating the girl, as she had stopped going to school and was seldom at home.
MSF was informed that she was at home on 14 August 2019, and its officers managed to bring her to a social services office where she was interviewed. The man was arrested the next day.
The younger girl was sent for a medical assessment where she was found to have blade marks on her left wrist and forearm. A psychiatric report stated that the girl would engage in acts of self-harm to relieve her the stress of her sexual abuse and friendship problems. The girl revealed to a psychiatrist that the man had showed her pornographic videos on a number of occasions.
She was also found to function within a “very low” range of intelligence, with an IQ score of 76.
“(The victim) also shared…. that she felt disgusted, sad, angry and helpless during the incidents. Because of her fear and helplessness, (she) remained quiet while (the man) committed his offences on her….(the victim’s) anger and sadness continued long after the incident until she disclosed the matter to a counsellor with whom she felt safe,” said the prosecution, which was represented by Deputy Public Prosecutors Nicholas Lai and Andre Ong.
When sent for a psychiatrist assessment, the man was found to be fit to plead. He was found to have a cognitive and adaptive ability in the poor to average range, but did not meet the full criteria of intellectual disability. He does not suffer from any mental illness.
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