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‘Like a father’: Nearly 10 years' jail, 11 strokes of cane for man who molested wife's 15-year-old cousin

SINGAPORE —  She had been put under the care of her cousin when her parents died and regarded her cousin's husband as a father figure, but he repeatedly sexually assaulted her when she was aged 15.

‘Like a father’: Nearly 10 years' jail, 11 strokes of cane for man who molested wife's 15-year-old cousin
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  • A 35-year-old was sentenced to nine years and nine months' jail and 11 strokes of the cane for repeated sexual assaults of his wife's then 15-year-old cousin
  • He pleaded guilty to sexual assault with penetration, committing an obscene act with a child and outrage of modesty
  • In July 2020, he had committed various sexual acts against the girl who treated him like a father
  • In the victim's impact statement, she said she was "emotionally disturbed, disgusted, confused and angry" by his actions

SINGAPORE —  She had been put under the care of her cousin when her parents died and regarded her cousin's husband as a father figure, but he repeatedly sexually assaulted her when she was aged 15.

The offender, now aged 35, cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim. He married the victim's cousin in 2015 and they do not have any children of their own.

Court documents did not state when the girl’s parents had died, but that she had moved in with her cousin — who is also her legal guardian — in early 2019.

On Tuesday (Nov 22), the man pleaded guilty to sexual assault by penetration, committing an obscene act with a child and outrage of modesty. 

He was sentenced to a total of nine years and nine months' jail and 11 strokes of the cane. Another three similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

He will begin serving his sentence on Dec 6 after his request to defer his sentence to settle “family matters” was approved. 

WHAT HAPPENED

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Lee Zu Zhao told the court that the 15-year-old girl moved into her cousin's three-room flat in early 2019 and she had her own room.

Sometime in the first week of July 2020, the girl had taken a shower after returning home from school. Her cousin was at work, leaving her and the man alone at home.

The girl had wrapped herself in a towel and headed to her room, when the man asked her if he could see a bruise on her back that she had got from a fall two days earlier.

When she said that it was not necessary, he followed her into her bedroom, closed the curtains and removed her towel without consent.

DPP Lee said: “He placed the towel on the bed and told her to lie face down on the bed. The victim was shocked and scared, and complied with his instructions.”

The man then rubbed her bruise with aloe vera gel, before touching her private parts.

He then sexually assaulted her and despite her pleas to stop, he refused to do so until she became teary and raised her voice.

In another incident that same week, while they were both home alone, he repeated his actions after the victim had finished showering. This time, he stopped only when the victim accidentally kicked his groin.

DPP Lee also said that on July 6, 2020 between 6pm and 7pm, the girl had gone to shower after returning home when she heard the man groaning in pain.

When she went to check on him out of concern, he said that his penis was in pain and placed her hand on it, before making her masturbate him. Despite knowing she was unwilling, he made her continue the act.

His actions came to light on Oct 20, 2020, when she confided in her close friend after the man performed another sexual act.

“The victim confided in a friend about the sexual acts the accused had performed and the friend’s mother took the victim to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital where the police were notified... The accused was subsequently arrested by the police,” DPP Lee said.

In her victim impact statement, the teenager stated that "she treated the accused like her own father, and felt emotionally disturbed, disgusted, confused and angry as a result of the sexual acts that he did to her,” court documents stated.

“After the matter was reported to the police, the victim experienced flashbacks of the incidents, and her studies were negatively affected because she could not stop thinking about the incidents. 

“Even three to four months after reporting the case to the police, the victim remained wary of males and would keep a distance from them.”

(The victim) treated the accused like her own father, and felt emotionally disturbed, disgusted, confused and angry as a result of the sexual acts that he did to her.
Victim impact statement submitted to the court

DPP Lee and DPP Goh Qi Shuen sought a total sentence of 10 years in jail and 11 strokes of the cane. In addressing their proposed sentence, DPP Lee said that this was a “serious abuse of trust and authority” given the relationship the man and girl had.

“The offence was premeditated, the victim is of a young age and the offence took place in the victim’s bed in her own bedroom,” DPP Lee said in reference to the charge for sexual assault by penetration.

The man’s lawyer, Mr Vinodhan Gunasekaran of Whitefern LLC, said that the offender had cooperated with investigations fully from an early stage.

“He is deeply remorseful, hence he is pleading guilty at an early stage,” Mr Vinodhan said.

In seeking a lighter sentence, he referred to another case where the victim was 10 years old, while the victim in this case was five years older.

However, Senior District Judge Bala Reddy said: “Why are you comparing… She’s also a young child, you know.”

As he handed out the sentence, the judge told that man that he could not ignore the serious abuse of trust. 

The man's sentence will be backdated to Oct 23, 2020 from the date when he was in remand.

For sexual assault by penetration, he could have been imprisoned for up to 20 years and fined or caned.

He also could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, caned or received any combination of the three for outrage of modesty.

For committing an obscene act with a child, he also faced imprisonment for up to five years or a fine of up to S$10,000, or both.

Related topics

crime court sexual assault teenager

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