SINGAPORE: A 43-year-old man made his stepdaughter, then 12, masturbate him with a sex toy as an alternative to receiving beatings for her poor studies.
The man, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the victim, was found guilty on Tuesday (Jun 2) of procuring the commission of an obscene act by a child by asking her to masturbate him with a box-like sex toy.
He was found guilty of this single charge after a trial and separately pleaded guilty to five charges of insulting a woman's modesty, with 10 similar charges taken into consideration.
The offence came to light only six years after it had occurred and the mother of the victim has since divorced him.
According to the prosecution's case, the man made his 12-year-old stepdaughter perform a sexual act on him in 2012 when she was staying at his flat with her mother and the accused's mother.
After going to school, she would return home to study and be tutored by the accused, who would punish her if she failed to study properly.
He had two ways of doing this: By beating her face or hand with a thick rolled-up magazine or making her stand outside the house for hours until midnight.
Because of this, the girl was afraid of her stepfather, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Goh Yi Ling. The man then gave the girl an alternative to being beaten - she could masturbate him with a sex toy.
HAPPENED UNDER THE GUISE OF PLAYING A GAME
The first time this happened, it was on the pretext of a game, said the prosecutor.
They played a game called Millionaire on his iPad in his room, but when the girl lost, the man took a sex toy from his bedside table and asked her to use it on him.
She did this until her hand was tired and numb, she testified, before returning to her room. She either cried or self-harmed by cutting herself to "release the pain".
After this, she said she had to perform the same act on him as frequently as once a week, when her mother was not home.
They would play the Millionaire game in his room with the door closed, and she always lost the game and had to perform the sex act on him.
This went on for months until July 2012, when the girl's teacher noticed that she was badly beaten.
The day before, her stepfather had beaten her with a thick rolled-up magazine until her lips bled because she could not understand what he was teaching her.
She was taken to lodge a police report and later stayed at a home.
TRIED TELLING HER MOTHER, BEGAN SELF-HARMING
She kept the secret for six years, afraid to tell anyone as her stepfather had told her it was a secret "only two persons can know" and said he would "make sure something happened" to her if she told.
She hinted to her mother in 2012 by saying "uncle is a molester", but would not elaborate when probed as the man was present.
Her mother than warned her "don't anyhow say". The girl was also afraid that people would look down on her.
In August 2018, the girl went out with her mother and they were discussing relationships.
The girl's mother told her that she knew everything about the girl's stepfather.
In response, the girl said: "If you know something and you didn't do anything about it, then I won't forgive you."
Her mother kept probing her about this and eventually the girl revealed what her stepfather had done to her.
When they reached home, the mother searched for her husband's sex toys and took a photo of them.
The next day, the victim's mother took her to lodge a police report. The girl was afraid and reluctant, but her mother told her not to be scared if she was telling the truth.
She reported her stepfather to the police and began seeing a psychiatrist months after this, as she was self-harming. She also felt stressed out and fearful, and blamed herself for "sabotaging her mother's marriage" by reporting the matter.
Her mother said she wanted her child to lodge a police report as the allegations were "very serious" and did not want her daughter to experience the same fear she had as a sexual victim herself.
She said it was not to assist her divorce proceedings, and that she decided to file for divorce only after finding out about the allegations and was convinced that her daughter was telling the truth.
A psychiatrist diagnosed the victim with dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder on the background of childhood sexual abuse, and noted that the victim's mood worsened and she had difficulty sleeping after filing a police report.
She told the psychiatrist that she had had emotional outbursts since the age of 12 and tried committing suicide three times on top of engaging in self-cutting.
MAN DENIES THE ACT IN HIS DEFENCE
In his defence over the trial, the man admitted that the girl stayed with him in 2012, but said they all returned home only in the evening before dinner.
He said he found it difficult to teach the girl and often became agitated to the extent of hitting her with a magazine on one occasion.
He also admitted possessing sex toys that year, but claimed he did not have one like the box-like sex toy that opened and closed like the girl described.
He also denied making the victim use a sex toy to masturbate him.
The accused's mother testified that the girl had "a bad habit of stealing" after one theft incident at a relative's house.
She also claimed that it was "entirely impossible" for her son to be alone with the victim in the room, but conceded that she did not see what was going on inside when his room door was closed.
The defence claimed that the victim was a "problematic" and "rebellious" child who had been caught snooping and stealing, but the prosecution argued that the girl remained honest about her troubled past despite these claims in cross-examination.
She acknowledged that her stepfather had helped her in her studies and was grateful for this despite what happened.
The case hinged on the victim's evidence and the prosecution argued that it was unusually convincing. The judge found the man guilty of his charge and adjourned sentencing to Jun 30.
He faces up to five years' jail, a fine of up to S$10,000 or both for his offence against his stepdaughter.
For each charge of insulting a woman's modesty for the unrelated charges he pleaded guilty to, he faces a maximum of a year's jail, a fine or both.