Singapore — A cleaner was jailed for 24 years on Friday (Feb 7) for sexually abusing his stepdaughter from the age of eight. This continued for six years until he was arrested on drug charges.
After he was sentenced, the 55-year-old man requested to speak to the victim. She is now 20 years old. The woman refused the request. The judge, however, allowed him to apologise before the whole court through an interpreter. The apology caused the victim to burst into tears and she was still sobbing as she left court.
Both cannot be named to protect the identity of the woman.
According to channelnewsasia.com, the girl’s mother and the man married in 2006 when she was only 7 years old. From the next year onwards, she, her two siblings and her mother lived with the stepfather in a one-room apartment.
The man started sexually abusing the girl after her elder brother moved out. At that point, she started sleeping in the lower bunk and her younger sister in the upper bunk of their bunk bed.
As their mother worked till late at night, the two girls were often home alone with their stepfather.
In 2008, shortly before she turned 9, the stepfather began abusing the victim, touching her while she was asleep at night or during naps. She would pretend to stay asleep since she did not know what to do.
He did this while her sister was asleep in the top bunk and while their mother, who often came home close to midnight, was still at work.
The man eventually escalated into using his fingers to assault the girl, according to Deputy Public Prosecutors Chong Yong and Eugene Lee.
The girl attempted to stop him but he would not.
She complained of pain and having a hard time walking after the molestation began, and told one friend that she no longer wanted to go home.
The stepfather continued to sexually abuse the girl even after she switched places with her sister and began to sleep in the top bunk. Since he would not stop, she eventually returned to the lower bunk.
The abuser attempted to rape the victim at the ages of 12, 13 and 14. He continued to abuse her up till 2014, when he was arrested and detained on drug charges.
However, his heinous acts on his stepdaughter were only revealed in January 2018, after she was hospitalised for an anxiety attack.
Doctors learned of the abuse when she told her story and added that she wanted to harm herself. She got a referral to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and was diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder. It was the IMH that notified the police of the abuse. The stepfather was arrested.
The man admitted to having abused his stepdaughter and has pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault by penetration of a minor. Several other charges were taken into consideration, including attempted rape, molest and sexual assault.
The man was not sentenced to be caned as he is older than 50 but the prosecutors asked for extra jail time.
According to DPPs Lee and Chong: “That period of her life, which should have been filled with happy recollections of school and friends, is instead irreparably corrupted by memories of shock, disgust, and despair. So terrible was this violation of trust that, even after the abuse stopped, the victim continued to carry the burden of these attacks alone and without help.”
Justice Valerie Thean, however, chose not to add to the 24-year jail term, saying that the length of time was “a substantial term”, in proportion to “his overall criminality”.
The man could have been sentenced to between 8 and 20 years in jail and 12 strokes of the cane for every count of sexual assault by penetration of a minor. /TISG
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