Man had sex in front of niece, 4, then sexually assaulted her

Amir Hussain
Senior Reporter
The man, now 21, pleaded guilty to one charge of aggravated sexual assault by penetration. (Photo: Getty)

SINGAPORE — A man had sex with his girlfriend in the presence of his four-year-old niece and then sexually assaulted the latter, a court heard.

Afterwards, the 20-year-old perpetrator lied to his mother that the victim had touched him inappropriately and that another person had taught the victim to do so.

At the High Court on Wednesday, the culprit, who is now 21, was sentenced to 10 years’ jail along with 12 strokes of the cane. He pleaded guilty to one charge of aggravated sexual assault by penetration.

A total of 15 other counts, including another charge of aggravated sexual assault against the same victim, were considered in sentencing. The perpetrator cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity.

Assaulted victim in toilet

The victim lived in a flat with her two younger siblings, her parents and four housemates who were her parents’ friends. In June last year, the victim’s parents were arrested separately and jailed for unrelated crimes, leaving their three children in the care of the four housemates.

The following month, the victim kept asking to see the culprit whom she addressed as “Baba” (a colloquial term for father) as she missed him. Two housemates brought the victim and her siblings to visit their grandmother’s flat where various relatives lived, including the culprit and his then-girlfriend.

At the end of the day, as the victim did not want to leave the culprit, the housemates decided to let her stay for a week there. At the time, the culprit worked as a cook at fast-food chain KFC.

One day, the culprit’s girlfriend brought the victim into the toilet so that they could take a shower at the same time. The culprit wanted to have sex with his girlfriend and knocked on the toilet door, saying he needed to use the toilet.

After using the toilet, the culprit asked his girlfriend to perform oral sex on him and she obliged. The couple then had sex in front of the victim as she played with water.

Afterwards, the girlfriend continued to wash herself and the victim up. The culprit also took a shower. When he thought that his girlfriend was distracted with washing her hair, he pulled the victim towards him and told her to perform oral sex on him.

The girlfriend heard what the culprit said and turned around to see the sexual assault. She told him to stop and he complied.

Lied about assault

After they left the toilet, the culprit called his mother who was at work. He lied that the victim had touched his private parts while in the shower. He also lied that when he asked the victim, she said it was another person in the flat who had taught her how to perform oral sex.

On the final day of the victim’s stay at her grandmother’s place, her relatives had a family outing. During the outing, the culprit told the adults present that the victim had touched him inappropriately during the week. He repeated his claim that the victim pointed to another person as having taught her how to perform oral sex.

On 3 August last year, the culprit’s mother reached out to the victim’s case worker from Big Love Child Protection Specialist Centre and confided in the latter about her concern for her grandchildren, given what the culprit had told her. The social worker visited the victim the same day and learnt the truth.

A police report was made by the victim’s housemate and caretaker the same day. Investigations revealed that on another occasion in July last year, the culprit also made the victim perform oral sex on him in the living room of his mother’s flat.

Egregious abuse of trust

Deputy Public Prosecutors Mohamed Faizal and Sarah Siaw asked for 10 years’ jail with 12 strokes of the cane - the sentence that was meted out by the court. The victim was “far too young to even fully grasp the degrading and heinous nature of the acts being committed against her, to protest against the abuse, or to report it to another adult”, they said.

The victim had stayed over at the culprit’s home as she missed him and wanted to spend time with him, the prosecutors noted. But “he had no qualms about corrupting the victim and destroying her innocence for his own vile pleasure”, they said. “Instead of protecting and taking care of his niece, as any other uncle would, the accused ... preyed upon her to fulfil his sordid sexual desires and (twice) made her perform fellatio on him.”

They added, “He did so in audacious circumstances: in the proceeded charge, he had the victim fellate him in the presence of his own girlfriend and after having corrupted the victim’s mind by having sexual intercourse with his girlfriend in the victim’s presence.”

And in trying to frame another person in order to deflect the blame, “the accused had no scruples about making an innocent person suffer for his crimes, and had no intention whatsoever of answering for himself”, the prosecutors said.

At the time, the culprit was on bail for a string of theft offences committed on at least nine separate occasions between 18 July 2017 and 11 June last year. These charges - which were considered in sentencing - include seven counts of theft for stealing six bicycles, an e-bike and an e-scooter.

Noting that the culprit had been sentenced to probation for criminal intimidation in 2015, the prosecution said his behaviour showed “a marked and progressive proclivity towards criminal activity” and “chronic disregard for others’ well-being and for the law”.

The punishment for sexual assault by penetration of a minor under 14 is a jail term of between eight and 20 years, with a minimum of 12 strokes of the cane.

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