SINGAPORE — A man who sexually abused his stepdaughter from when she was six years old until she turned 12 was sentenced to 28 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane on Monday (13 January).
In a case described as “appalling” by the prosecution, the man, who was then between 34 and 39 years old, had forced the girl into committing the sexual acts. The sentence was in line with the prosecution’s request.
The man, who worked as a warehouse assistant, would scold and slap her whenever she resisted or cried. He told the girl, now 14, that her body belonged to him, and that he could touch her whenever he wanted.
At the High Court, the man pleaded guilty to one charge of aggravated statutory rape and two counts of aggravated sexual assaulted by penetration, including sodomy. Another 12 counts of a similar nature were taken into consideration for his sentencing.
The man married the girl’s biological mother in April 2008, when the victim was two years old. The girl’s mother subsequently divorced him after she knew about the offences.
The couple had another four children during their marriage, and the family slept in the living room of the one-room flat.
The victim enjoyed spending time with the man and treated him as her real father, according to the prosecution. She was closer to the accused than to her biological father, it added.
Four years after the man became her stepfather, he began sexually abusing her. The girl was sleeping when her stepfather molested her for the first time. Curious about the touch then, the girl kept quiet about the incident at the man’s behest. She did not know the act was wrong.
The man’s actions escalated into more intrusive interactions. He sodomised her for the first time between January and July 2013 when she was only seven. When the victim cried from the pain, the man covered her mouth and slapped her.
The man forced the girl to do a sexual act and began raping her from 2014. The girl only realised the acts were wrong when she was in Primary 5 after she spoke to her classmates who had attended sex education classes.
“She felt ashamed that she was no longer a virgin. She told the accused to stop doing these things to her but he continued to persist despite her refusal. The victim felt helpless and never told anyone of the abuse as she was afraid of the accused and did not think anyone in her family would believe her,” said the prosecution.
The girl resolved to reveal the sexual abuse when she grew older.
The man had promised in 2014 to stop abusing her and told the girl to keep it a secret. However, he broke his promise and persisted in his acts without using protection.
The girl finally confided in her aunt when the man again abused her on 17 January 2018, just before she went to school.
She texted her maternal aunt, “I need your help…my daddy went crazy today morning he forced me to have ‘sex’ with him...he then opened my skirt and touched my butt”.
While in class, a teacher noticed the victim’s tears and brought her to see a school counsellor. The matter was reported to the police on the same day.
In her statement, the girl said that the offences caused her to feel very insecure and she feared being judged. The girl continues to suffer from flashbacks of abuse and is afraid that the man would seek revenge. She also finds it hard to trust males and keeps to herself.
Calling for a 28-year jail term for the man, the prosecution said, “This is an appalling case where the victim, from a very young age, was subjected to years of sexual abuse by her own step-father, the very person she should have received care, protection and guidance from.”
“He sexually abused her for a protracted period of seven years – robbing her of her innocence, and even exposing her to the risks of sexually transmitted diseases.”
The man had treated the girl like a “sex toy who was conveniently placed in his home to satiate his odious sexual desires”, said the prosecution.
Pro bono lawyer Henry Lim, who sought a 25-year jail term, said that the man was now “tormented daily by memories of the acts he had inflicted on the victim.
“He knows the harm the victim has suffered is excruciatingly heartbreaking,” said Lim, who added that the man has been abandoned by his loved ones.
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