Man, 73, accused of molesting woman with autism and borderline intelligence

Wan Ting Koh
·5-min read
A woman crouching against a wall.
A woman crouching against a wall. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A 73-year-old man accused of molesting his then 25-year-old “goddaughter” who has borderline intelligence claimed trial to the offence on Wednesday (10 February).

The man, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity, is said to have molested the woman after she stayed with him and his wife on 24 January 2018 following an argument with her mother.

Apart from borderline intelligence, the victim is also visually handicapped, autistic, and has impulse control disorder. The woman, now 28, is married and lives with her parents.

Opening its case on Wednesday, prosecution said the man “took advantage of the victim’s unbridled trust reposed in him and outraged her modesty on three occasions throughout the course of a night by touching her private parts over her panties, squeezing one of her breasts on at least two occasions, and pulling her hand towards him to rub his erect penis.” The alleged offences constitute three charges of molest.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran told the court that the alleged victim met her “godmother” in 2016 while buying jewellery, such as earrings and bracelets, from her shop at a mall.

Taking the stand with a support officer by her side, the alleged victim, who is currently unemployed, testified that she began calling the woman her “godmother” a week after they met.

When asked by DPP Thiagesh why she decided to refer to the woman as “godma”, the alleged victim said, “Because she also had a godson before so I will be her goddaughter, that was my thinking.”

DPP Thiagesh asked, “Why do you think of her as godmother?” and she replied, “Because she was friendly to me”.

The DPP then asked why she only took a week to call the woman godmother, and the woman replied that she thought they had “chemistry together”. She added that her parents did not know of the relationship with her godmother as she “did not feel like telling them”.

After the mall outlet closed, the older woman continued her business from her Holland Drive flat. The alleged victim would visit the woman to see items such as bags, shoes, and tea sets. During one of these visits, the alleged victim met the woman’s husband and referred to him as “Uncle” or “godpa”.

On 24 January 2018, after a quarrel with her mother, the alleged victim visited the woman. The two women had dinner and walked around the estate before returning at night. The younger woman then decided to stay the night and the older woman agreed.

According to the prosecution, the alleged victim then shared the sole bed in the flat with the couple. According to the alleged victim, as she spoke to her “godpa” on the bed, the man rubbed her thigh area and touched her genitals over her underwear. The woman pushed his hand away.

As she lay down to sleep, she faced the man, afraid that he would touch her again. He allegedly squeezed her breast as the woman pretended to sleep.

Later in the night, the alleged victim followed the older woman to the kitchen and told her about the molest. The older woman supposedly replied, “Never mind, it’s okay one”.

The man then allegedly told the younger woman to come back to sleep. When the alleged victim complied, he purportedly pulled her hand to rub his genitals.

After the alleged victim left the unit the next morning, she confided in her mother, who called the police that evening.

The investigating officer, who also testified on Wednesday, said that she recorded several statements from the accused person, during which the man claimed he had patted the alleged victim to sleep.

The man claimed that on 24 January 2018, the woman had come to his room and used his handphone. As the two sat on his bed and chatted, the man said that he had held her hand and asked her why she was “so white” and “told her she was beautiful”.

“Based on my conversation with her, she is just like a baby,” the man stated. In the night he was woken by a conversation between the woman and his wife. His wife told him that the woman wanted to go home but it was late. The man then patted the woman to sleep.

He denied molesting her. Asked by the investigating officer if he had pulled the woman’s hand to touch his penis, the man said, “I did hold her hand and told her to sleep, maybe accidentally touch my penis, I don’t know”.

In a statement recorded in 2019, however, the man allegedly stated that “I touched her and she touched me. It takes two hands to clap for things to happen, she was willing to do all these acts.”

He then added, “I am so old, please give me a chance to keep a normal life, I don’t have much years to live. I never committed offence for past 72 years, I am sorry I committed offence in an impulse, I will show or give sincere apology to (the alleged victim) if I do wrong to her. Please forgive me.”

His statement also added, ”I regretted for what I had done, no intention to harm (the woman), I sincerely apologise to her hope that can settle out of court for my old age, I (am) willing to write apology letter. My wife mobility (is) not stable I have to take care of her 24/7, please be lenient to me.”

The trial continues on Wednesday afternoon.

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