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22 years’ jail for man who sexually assaulted 5-year-old nephew over 5 years

SINGAPORE — He began targeting his nephew when the boy was just five years old, escalating his sexual acts over five years.

22 years’ jail for man who sexually assaulted 5-year-old nephew over 5 years

A victim of sexual abuse realised that what his uncle did to him was wrong after attending sex education classes in school.

  • A man, who has a son of his own, sexually abused his nephew from 2010 to 2014
  • The victim realised his uncle’s actions were wrong only in 2017 after attending sex education lessons
  • When the boy was caught taking an upskirt video, he told a counsellor about the abuse
     

SINGAPORE — He began targeting his nephew when the boy was just five years old, escalating his sexual acts over five years.

His offences came to light four years later, in 2018, when the victim was caught taking an upskirt video in Secondary 1. 

During a counselling session, the boy broke down and told the counsellor that he had been sexually abused by his uncle.

On Tuesday (Sept 7), the 54-year-old man was sentenced in the High Court to 22 years’ jail. 

He pleaded guilty to two charges each of aggravated sexual assault by penetration and attempted sexual assault by penetration. Another seven similar charges — including aggravated molestation — were considered for sentencing.

The man’s wife is the boy’s maternal aunt and the couple have a son who is now 13 years old. 

Both the man and the victim cannot be named due to a court order to protect the victim’s identity.

WHAT HAPPENED

The court heard that the boy’s biological parents divorced when he was born and his grandmother stepped in to take care of him.  

The accused and his wife lived in the grandmother’s four-room flat as well. They slept in the master bedroom while the boy slept in the living room with their son and the grandmother.

The victim treated and addressed his uncle as he would a father.

The accused, who was working as a technician then, began sexually exploiting the boy in 2010 by first touching his buttocks over his shorts. 

As he did not know this was wrong, the victim laughed thinking that his uncle was being playful, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Gregory Gan told the court.

From then on, the man touched his nephew’s buttocks frequently when they were alone.

When the boy started primary school, the man became more emboldened and began rubbing his private parts against the boy.

He forced the boy to give him oral sex then eventually tried to sodomise him.

The victim realised his uncle’s actions were wrong after attending sex education classes in 2017, when he was in Secondary 1.

On Aug 20, 2018, he was referred to the school’s counsellor after he was caught filming up someone’s skirt. 

He broke down during the session with the counsellor and spoke up about the abuse. 

The counsellor alerted the school’s management and they called the police. 

A psychiatrist who later assessed the boy wrote in a report that he felt distressed when describing the details of the abuse.

He also experienced some post-traumatic stress symptoms in 2018 that have since improved.

DPP Gan said: “The psychiatric report further disclosed that the victim felt some anger towards the accused in respect of the sexual abuse, but he also felt guilt towards the accused’s son for the distress caused by the incident — that is, the reporting of the sexual abuse.”

NEED TO SEND OUT STRONG MESSAGE

DPPs Gan, Wong Kok Weng and Michelle Lu sought the sentence imposed with one more year in lieu of caning. 

They referred to aggravating factors that included a gross abuse of trust, sexual grooming, and exploitation of a vulnerable victim.

“This case strikes at the moral fabric of society… The sentence imposed on the accused must send out a strong message that society will not tolerate such wanton abuse of a young and vulnerable child, and that any offender who perpetrates such abuse will be met with the strongest disapprobation from the courts,” they said. 

The man’s lawyers — Mr Mohamed Baiross, Mr Ashwin Ganapathy and Mr Norhakim Md Shah from IRB Law — told the court that their client’s relationship with his family has “not been adversely affected” despite his offences. His wife visits him in remand every month and their son accompanies her during the school holidays.

They sought 20 years’ jail with no additional jail time in lieu of caning, saying it was “by no means a slap on the wrist”.

Justice Valerie Thean agreed that no extra jail time was warranted as the sentence was long by itself.

For sexual assault by penetration of a minor under 14, the man could have been jailed up to 20 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane.

Related topics

sexual abuse child abuse upskirt court crime

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