SINGAPORE: A 54-year-old man who molested his stepdaughter on multiple occasions was on Monday (Jan 30) sentenced to one year and eight months’ jail.
The victim was initially reluctant to tell her mother what had happened, out of fear that the older woman would risk her safety by confronting him. The victim also stopped her boyfriend from reporting the matter to the police.
The perpetrator, a Singaporean, pleaded guilty on Monday to three charges of outrage of modesty. Another two similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.
His sentence, which he began serving immediately, did not include caning as offenders above 50 years old cannot be caned under Singapore’s laws.
Neither he nor the victim can be named due to a gag order to protect her identity.
At the time of the offences between 2016 and 2019, the victim was between 17 and 20 years old.
The court heard that the victim’s mother married the offender in 2014. They began living together in his flat the next year.
The victim got along well with her new stepfather, and confided in him when she faced problems. They shared a “close father-daughter relationship”, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Colin Ng told the court.
One day in 2016, the pair began teasing each other in the living room by poking at and slapping each other on the arm. The victim then ran into her bedroom to hide from him, but he pushed the door open and entered the room.
He proceeded to molest her by biting her private part while they wrestled on her bed. When she screamed for help, he immediately left the bedroom.
The victim’s mother went to check on her but the victim did not say anything, not wanting the older woman to worry and quarrel with her husband.
Two years passed before the next incident, which happened while the victim’s then-boyfriend was at her house.
The offender had returned home and she went to the kitchen to greet him, only for him to try and kiss her on the lips.
She struggled and he pinned her to the floor before molesting her. She screamed for help and told him to stop.
After he went to the toilet to shower, the victim left the flat with her boyfriend without telling anyone what had happened.
It took three months for her to confide in her boyfriend, but she stopped him from confronting her stepfather or from reporting the matter to the police.
On Feb 20, 2019, the victim was about to leave home for school when her stepfather – who was sleeping in the living room – woke up and commented that her attire was revealing. He then grabbed her breast from behind.
She screamed for her mother who was in the master bedroom at the time. The offender immediately backed off.
When the victim’s mother checked on her, she kept silent about the incident and left the flat.
Her mother sent her a text message afterwards but she remained tight-lipped, merely revealing that the offender “got close” to her. She was afraid her mother would confront him, DPP Ng told the court.
Later that evening, she eventually told her mother about being molested. Her mother lodged a police report two hours later.
In mitigation, the accused’s lawyer SS Dhillon told the court that he was currently divorced and ashamed of his actions.
“He wishes to apologise to everyone concerned and begs for their forgiveness. He wished that he had exercised greater prudence and self-restraint and not succumbed to his animalistic desires,” the defence counsel added.
His last offence was in 1985 for stealing a bicycle, for which he was sentenced to probation.
Mr Dhillon added that his client would not re-offend.
Those convicted of molestation can be jailed for up to three years, fined, caned or receive any combination of the three.
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