Man who sexually assaulted 5-year-old sister for 7 years jailed, caned

·Senior Reporter
·6-min read
Young child sitting on the floor
PHOTO: Getty Images

SINGAPORE - He began molesting his sister when she was five and raped her the year she turned 12.

Even as his mother scolded him, the man, now 22, continued sexually assaulting his sister until she became pregnant at the age of 12. The foetus, later aborted, did not belong to the brother.

At the Supreme Court on Thursday (30 January), the man was sentenced to 11-and-a-half years’ jail and seven strokes of the cane.

He pleaded guilty to one count of molesting a minor under 14 in 2010 - the year the offences first began. He was then 13 while his sister was five. He also admitted to one count of rape, committed in 2017. Other similar offences, all occurring between 2010 and 2017, were taken into consideration for sentencing.

The man was the second of four children, while the victim was the youngest and only daughter. Their mother, 41, divorced their father in 2013. The father later remarried.

All parties involved cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity. The is girl is currently under the care of the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

Started watching cartoon porn at 13 years old

In 2010, the man, then 13, began watching pornographic animation online. After a few months, he developed a sexual interest in petite underaged females.

Wanting to perform the sexual acts that he had watched, he targetted his sister, who was then about 5. Whenever he felt sexually aroused, he would rub his penis against his sister's thighs or genitals until he ejaculated.

While the girl took an afternoon nap, her brother molested her. He removed her shorts and panties, undressed himself and molested her. He later cleaned up with tissue paper.

His mother found out what he had done when she found semen stains on her daughter's panties while showering her.

She asked her son if he had molested his sister again and if he had raped her. The son denied the act of rape. She then reminded her son that the girl was his younger sister and that he could not “do such a thing” to her, the prosecution said.

It was the second occasion that year that the man had molested his sister in that manner.

Following the parents’ divorce in 2013, the girl moved out of the house with her father. She visited the house once a week during the day.

In June 2017, the girl moved back in with her brothers to the two-room flat. The man, then 20, was serving National Service then and only returned home from Friday evenings to Sundays. He raped his sister, then 12, on the weekends.

Raped sister while mother was sleeping

On a night between August and September 2017, as the siblings' mother slept on a mattress placed on the floor, the man raped his sister without using a condom. The two were sharing the lower deck of a double decker bed.

The sibling's mother woke up after the act was over and "reminded" her son that the victim was his younger sister, according to the prosecution.

"She asked him if he was not scared of the consequences," said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Michelle Lu.

In October that year, the girl told her mother that she had missed her period. Worried that her daughter was pregnant, the mother bought a pregnancy test kit and the girl tested positive. The mother suspected that her son might be the father of the unborn child.

On 17 November 2017, the mother, the man and the girl visited a clinic. The doctor confirmed that the girl was pregnant, and advised the older woman to bring the girl to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital for a medical examination and for a police report to be lodged.

The man's mother decided against bringing the girl to the hospital as she feared that her son would be arrested by the police. Instead, on 11 December, the family brought the girl to a clinic in Johor Bahru for an abortion. The doctor declined to perform the abortion.

Mother tried to pull pregnant daughter from school to avoid detection

In a bid to avoid the pregnancy from being discovered, the mother told her daughter to stop attending school. Her absence was noticed by the girl’s secondary school, which contacted the mother in January 2018.

When asked, the mother simply replied that the girl was unwell and applied to withdraw her from school. However, the school required a doctor’s note to confirm the girl's condition.

The mother finally revealed the girl's pregnancy and the school's principal informed the MSF Child Protection Services. MSF lodged a police report on 1 February 2018.

The biological father of the foetus was later found to be another man. While this man is currently being investigated for having sex with the girl, court documents did not state his relationship to the girl. The foetus was later aborted in Singapore.

The man’s lawyers, Josephus Tan and Cory Wong from Invictus Law, are representing him pro bono under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme. The duo asked for a global sentence of 10 years with seven strokes of the cane, while the prosecution sought 10 years, six months and seven strokes of the cane.

Following his arrest, the man was diagnosed with paedophilic disorder and later developed adjustment disorder with depressed mood.

Mitigating for his client, Tan said that the man demonstrated “genuine remorse” by being very cooperative and forthcoming during investigations. He had confessed to his crimes in police statements. The lawyer also pointed out that the first offence was committed by his client when he was only 13.

Tan told the court that his client’s mother, a hawker stall helper, lived on welfare assistance and only had a primary school education. “This is a dysfunctional family at the very baseline,” said Tan. The mother currently does not face any charges and it is unclear if she will be prosecuted.

Submitting for a harsher jail term, the prosecution stated, “There are simply no words that can adequately describe the egregiousness of sexual assault perpetrated by a family member. This is made worse when the victim is a young and defenceless child.”

“The lack of familial supervision is starkly apparent in this unfortunate case. Despite their mother being aware of such an offence occurring under her nose, she had taken what we call the ‘light touch approach’, reprimanding and reminding rather than taking substantive action,” said DPP Marshall Lim.

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