Man jailed 3 years for molesting young girl under his care; thought of raping her but was 'scared'
- A Singaporean was paid to care for children whose parents struggled to do so
- He molested a girl, then aged 10 to 11, several times
- She viewed him as her father figure and he helped her with her schoolwork
- She and her mother did not make a police report immediately when his wife begged them, but she eventually could not take it anymore
SINGAPORE — He seemed like an upstanding citizen who took children under his care by giving them accommodation and looking after their daily needs for a fee.
A woman then sought his help, allowing her young daughter to move into a flat with him, his wife and his family. But he soon violated that trust by molesting the child on at least five separate occasions.
The girl and her mother did not make a police report after the man’s wife begged them not to do it. However, the offences eventually came to light when the girl's teachers noticed something was wrong and found a penknife in her school bag.
During police investigations, the perpetrator said that he wanted to rape the girl and could have done so, but was too scared.
For his crimes from 2017 to 2018 when the girl was aged between 10 and 11, the 58-year-old Singaporean was jailed for three years on Thursday (July 14).
He pleaded guilty to three counts of molesting a minor under 14, with two other charges taken into consideration for sentencing.
When asked if he had anything to say in mitigation, the man mostly kept his head bowed and merely said: “Sorry to the victim.”
He cannot be named due to a court order to protect the victim’s identity.
PAID HIM S$1,300 A MONTH
The court heard that the girl moved to Singapore with her mother in 2013 so that she would have a better future. Their nationalities were not stated.
Her mother got to know the man through mutual friends and learned about his services. Being unable to converse in English and help with her daughter’s schoolwork, the woman paid him S$1,300 to take care of the girl’s basic needs, including her education.
In 2015, the girl moved into his flat and stayed with his family and other children under his care.
She viewed him as a father figure because her biological father was absent from her life, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Niranjan Ranjakunalan told the court.
The following year, the man began making her uncomfortable by touching her shoulders and thighs.
Then in 2017, he molested her for the first time by kissing her on the lips while she was confiding in him about some personal matters. They were alone in the flat.
DPP Niranjan said that she “felt very uncomfortable but was unsure about whether what the accused had done to her was wrong”.
That same year, the man, the girl and other children under his care began living in another residence. His wife and other children she was caring for continued living in the original residence.
There, he woke the girl up one morning and rubbed her chest.
On another occasion, she was doing extra homework that he had assigned to her when he discovered some of her answers were wrong.
After she corrected her homework, he asked his domestic worker to lock her own bedroom door so that the girl could not go to the worker's bedroom and sleep there. He then told the girl to sleep together with him on his bed.
While she was asleep, he molested her once more. The next morning, he told the girl not to tell his wife or the domestic worker about what had happened.
He stopped molesting her when she moved back to the original residence for a few months, but continued when she moved back to his place. She was taking an afternoon nap on two occasions when he touched her private parts.
GAVE APOLOGY LETTER
In 2018, she finally decided to confide in her mother. The last straw was when the girl found the man in her bedroom after she finished taking a shower and was naked.
The mother took her daughter back to her place the next day. She related the man’s offending to his wife, who initially did not believe her but later called her repeatedly to beg her not to report the matter to the police.
The girl’s mother insisted that he explain himself.
He then gave the girl and her mother an apology letter, which his wife helped him to write.
However, the victim was unable to stop thinking about the man molesting her and struggled with these thoughts over the next few years. Because of that, she had difficulty focusing on her studies and Primary School Leaving Examination preparation, DPP Niranjan said.
Her teachers then noticed that she was behaving unusually and asked what was wrong. They also found a penknife in her bag.
She asked to speak to the school counsellor who accompanied her and her mother to file a police report.
The man was arrested on Feb 27, 2020 and released on bail later that day.
During investigations, she revealed that she lost trust in males due to the man’s molestations.
She grew afraid when males went near her, had to attend multiple counselling sessions to address her emotional issues, and devised coping strategies to prevent self-harm and deal with her suicidal thoughts.
The man told the authorities that he recognised the victim’s closeness to him.
He also stated that the girl was a “temptation” to him and that although he wanted to rape her and could have raped her, he did not do so because he was scared, the court heard.
DPP Niranjan sought between 33 to 39 months’ jail, noting that the accused had repeatedly touched the girl’s private parts.
District Judge Lee Lit Cheng said that the 36 month sentence is well within the maximum prescribed punishment of 5 years' imprisonment for each of the charges.
She added that the sentence is also "in keeping with the accused’s culpability for inflicting the ordeal on the young victim over the two years, which continued to torment her even after”.
For each charge of molesting a minor under 14, he could have been jailed for up to five years, fined, caned, or given any combination of the three. However, those aged 50 or above cannot be caned under Singapore law.
WHERE TO GET HELP
- National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868
- Fei Yue's Online Counselling Service: eC2.sg website (Mon to Fri, 10am to 12pm, 2pm to 5pm)
- Institute of Mental Health's Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
- Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444 (24 hours) / 1-767 (24 hours)
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
- Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6386-1928 / 6509-0271 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
- Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788 (Mon to Fri, 2.30pm to 5pm)
- Touchline (Counselling): 1800-377-2252 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)