SINGAPORE — A technician who had a strained relationship with his wife began harbouring intentions on their daughter as an outlet for his sexual urges, a court heard.
The 48-year-old man began molesting the 13-year-old girl before he got bolder in his sexual advances. He raped his biological daughter just after she turned 14 on two occasions while her mother and brother lay asleep in their home.
The perpetrator’s crimes came to light after the victim’s teacher asked her why she wanted to run away from home.
At the High Court on Wednesday (26 February), the culprit, now 50, was jailed for 24 years after he pleaded guilty to two rape charges.
Eight counts of aggravated molestation were considered in sentencing.
Culprit had strained relationship with wife
The court heard that the man and his wife, now 39, slept apart in their 4-room HDB flat as they had a strained relationship for many years. The man and his family are all Singapore permanent residents from China.
Sometime between 30 January and 20 February 2018, the culprit hugged the girl from behind while she was using the computer. He placed his hands under her T-shirt and touched her breasts.
Over time, he got bolder and would demand that she lie beside him on his bed, typically on Sunday mornings when she had to wake up early for art class, while her mother and elder brother were still asleep.
The victim was afraid of defying her father, the court heard. He had previously disciplined her by slapping her or beating her with a cane-like glue stick.
She would lie with her back facing him, but he would turn her to face him before putting his hands under her clothes to touch her breasts, or into her shorts to touch her private parts.
On some weekday mornings, the perpetrator would also ask the victim to lie beside him. But she would say that she was rushing for school to reject him.
Victim confided in brother, who didn’t offer help
In February 2018, the victim told her brother, now 21, that their father was touching her inappropriately. Her brother sensed that she was scared, the court heard.
However, he only told her to reject the culprit the next time it happened. He didn’t offer any help, even though the victim said it was hard to defy the perpetrator due to his bad temper.
On various occasions from March to May 2018, the culprit sexually assaulted the victim by hugging her, kissing her on the lips and sticking his tongue into her mouth. Once, he also placed her hand on his penis and guided her to masturbate him. The offences took place at their flat, inside a car at a car park, inside a lift at a HDB block and inside a lift at Chinatown Point shopping mall.
Culprit raped victim while family slept
On a Sunday morning in late March 2018, the culprit told the victim to lie on his bed when she woke up for her art class. He groped her and undressed her before wearing a condom and raping the victim, who was a virgin. As he did not want the family to be woken up, he also told her to tell him softly if she felt pain and not to shout.
The victim was scared and felt pain. But she didn’t show her emotions as she was too afraid of the perpetrator, the court heard. Afterwards, he drove her to her art class, but warned her not to tell anyone about what he had done to her.
On another Sunday the next month, the culprit again raped the victim, this time without using protection. Afterwards, he drove her to her art class.
Later, the victim became worried when she missed her period. The perpetrator bought her a pregnancy test kit, which gave a negative result.
Teacher found out victim was abused
On 18 October 2018, the victim’s co-form teacher asked her why she wanted to run away from home. The victim then told the teacher that her father had touched her inappropriately.
A psychiatric report in June last year stated that the victim sometimes felt breathless for no reason and has been seeing her school counsellor.
In asking for a stiff punishment, Deputy Public Prosecutors April Phang, Andrew Low and Jamie Pang said in their submissions, “This case strikes at the very conscience of any civilised society. As a father, the accused should have provided a safe and secure home environment for his children. Instead, he exploited his position of trust and authority to sexually abuse his own daughter.”
The DPPs added, “Young children must be protected in their own homes, and be allowed to grow and develop in a safe environment.The sentence to be imposed on the accused must thus send out a strong, deterrent message that society will not, and cannot, tolerate such wanton abuse of our young, and that any offender who perpetrates such abuse will be met with the strongest disapprobation from our courts.”
The punishment for a rape charge is a jail term of up to 20 years, along with a possible fine and caning. For using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a minor below 14, the maximum penalty is up to five years’ jail, along with a fine and caning.
Only male offenders below 50 can be caned.
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