A 38-year-old Singaporean man was sentenced on Monday (Jul. 25) to 11.5 years in jail and 15 strokes of the cane for sexually assaulting his stepdaughter.
The man cannot be named to protect the identity of his stepdaughter, who is now 15.
Sexual abuse first occurred when girl was 10
According to CNA, the first instance of sexual abuse occurred in 2017, when the girl was 10 years old.
In June 2017, the man approached his stepdaughter when she was lying on her grandmother's bed at home and told her to perform an indecent act on him.
The girl complied as she saw him as a fatherly figure and felt that she could not refuse.
She also did not understand her stepfather's request, but after he sexually abused her again later that night, she said she did not want to do it anymore, reported TODAY.
She did not tell anyone about the abuse as she was concerned that the split would affect her younger stepbrothers, after seeing what happened following her mother's first divorce.
The girl's mother, now aged 35, first married the offender in 2008, two years after the girl was born.
They divorced in 2013, but remarried in 2016. They have two sons together.
The man was unemployed at the time of the offences. The girl's mother left work in 2018 to care for her children, according to CNA.
Man sexually assaults stepdaughter again after finding out she had sex with 13-year-old boyfriend
On May 25, 2019, while the girl was asleep on her bed, the man went through her mobile phone and discovered text messages which revealed that she had sex with her then-13-year-old boyfriend.
The man had access to the girl's phone as she had provided him the password previously, out of respect for him as a father figure, the court heard.
According to TODAY, she felt scared and embarrassed when her stepfather confronted her about it.
He said she had to do something for him, or he would tell her mother.
He then asked her to take nude photos of herself and send them to him.
The girl complied and went to the toilet, where she cried out of fear and confusion.
While she was in the toilet, he sent her a text message asking her to smile and photograph her private parts.
After sending him the photos, she left the toilet and found her stepfather standing in the kitchen entrance.
There, he made her perform a sex act on him, touched her chest, and took a photo of the girl with her chest exposed.
A photo of the girl's exposed chest was later found in his phone.
Girl assaulted again, confides in boyfriend
After the sex act, the man then made the girl call her boyfriend over to the house, told him to use a condom next time and passed him one, reported CNA.
The girl and her boyfriend then left the house. The stepfather sent the girl a text message asking her to come home so he could take her out to play football.
Afraid to be alone with her stepfather, the girl asked her boyfriend to accompany her back home and told him what happened earlier that day.
The boyfriend urged the girl to tell her mother about what happened, but the girl was too scared. He also passed her a small foldable knife and multipurpose tool, and told her to keep them.
The girl kept the items in her bag, and cried on the taxi on the way home as she was afraid of what would happen to her when they reached home.
When the couple arrived to the girl's house, the stepfather asked why the boyfriend had followed her home. As the three were leaving the house to play football, the boy had to leave as his mother called, according to CNA.
After he left, the stepfather told the girl that football was cancelled and they went back into the flat.
He then told her to perform a sex act on him again. She complied as she was too afraid, CNA reported.
She then retreated to her room and cried, and contemplated using the small knife on herself as she felt like she wanted to die.
Boyfriend collects evidence and tells girl's maternal aunt about assaults
The girl met up with her boyfriend later that day and told him what had happened. Despite his urging for her to tell her mother, the girl kept refusing, reported TODAY.
Sometime later, he told the girl he needed to help her and tell an adult what happened.
He went through her phone and found that she was a member of the SG Nasi Lemak chat group.
Her stepfather had joined the group using her phone and circulated three of her nude photos in the group.
The boyfriend took screenshots of the obscene messages and saved them onto a thumb drive, which he passed to the girl's maternal aunt.
The girl's aunt told the girl's mother and confronted the stepfather over a phone call on Jul. 3, 2019.
He initially denied all wrongdoing, and claimed he was drunk and could not remember anything.
The man eventually confessed to his actions, and the girl's aunt lodged a police report.
He was arrested on Jul. 26, 2019.
Assaults violated sanctity of relationship between girl and stepfather: Judge
The man's assessment at the Institute of Mental Health found that though he was likely intoxicated during the offences, he still understood the nature of his wrongdoing, according to TODAY.
The man pleaded guilty to three charges, one of sexual assault by penetration of a minor, one of molestation, and one of procuring an indecent act from a child.
Three other similar charges were taken into consideration.
In sentencing the man, High Court judge Dedar Singh Gill said the man's actions had violated the sanctity of his relationship with the victim.
The judge added that the circulation of her nude photos degraded her further.
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