SINGAPORE — A man on trial for molesting the daughter of a family friend is accused of touching her private parts while allegedly applying medical powder on her when she was nine.
The 59-year-old Singaporean man faces one charge each of molesting the girl and attempting to molest her, both of which he claimed trial to on Monday (13 September).
The first occasion is alleged to have been in the man’s flat in 2016, where his wife gave tuition to the victim, then nine, and her sisters. The second occasion allegedly happened in the same flat between 9 and 13 September 2019, when the girl was 12.
On the first occasion, the man is said to have used his finger to touch the girl’s private parts while in a bedroom. On the second, he allegedly attempted to insert his hand into the back of her pants.
The girl, now 14 and in secondary 2, cannot be named to protect her identity. She took the stand as the first prosecution witness on Monday, testifying to the details leading up to the first incident.
According to the prosecution’s agreed statement of facts, the accused man and his wife were close family friends of the victim’s parents, and the man knew the victim since she was three.
When she was nine, the girl would go to the man’s flat for tuition. She stopped her tuition in late 2016 or 2017 but resumed in the second half of 2019.
Appearing on the stand with an adult volunteer, the girl testified that she was sent for tuition as she was weak in mathematics and her mother tongue.
Girl testified on man's actions
Testifying to her relationship with the accused, the girl, who spoke in a soft and halting manner, said that the man paid more attention to her as compared to her younger sisters, often bringing her out for her birthdays and giving her gifts.
She told District Judge Victor Yeo that she was studying at his flat’s dining area in 2016 with her younger sister before she was molested. Hives had broken out on her arm and the man’s wife offered to apply powder on her.
The girl went into a bedroom, where the man and his wife were. The man then allegedly asked his wife to continue teaching the sister and offered to apply the powder himself.
He closed the door after his wife left, the girl said. He then asked her to pull her pants down and she complied, according to the girl. She also pulled down her underwear, before lying down on a bed belly.
She told the court that the man's finger then came into contact with her private area, with him making "the motion" a few times.
Asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao if she thought it unusual that the man had asked her to remove her pants since the hives were on her arms, the girl replied “yes” but added that she did not think much about it.
“During that time, I wasn’t close to any of my family members. So he was one person I trusted the most,” the girl said in response to a question on her relationship with the accused.
After the alleged incident, the girl returned to her studies. She said she did not speak of the incident to anyone as she did not think it was necessary.
“I didn’t think much of it… I didn’t know if it was bad or good, the thing that had happened,” she said.
She only came to learn the nature of the incident some two years later.
“When I was primary 5, I attended sex ed which taught us the difference between good and bad touch, after that I knew that it wasn’t – it was a bad thing,” she told the court.
She came close to confiding in a classmate but did not, despite breaking down in class, she said.
Asked by DPP Lee why she kept mum, the girl replied, “Part of me didn’t want to believe it happened.”
She eventually lodged a police report on 19 September 2019, according to prosecution documents.
The trial continues in the afternoon.
If convicted of molesting or attempting to molest a minor under 14, the man may be jailed up to five years, with fine, or caning, or any combination of the punishments.
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