SINGAPORE: A 59-year-old man was sentenced to 20 years’ jail on Monday (May 14) for sexually assaulting his employer’s daughter, who was seven years old at the time of the first offence in 2015.
The man, who cannot be named due to a court order, pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated sexual assault by penetration. Nine other similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that the victim’s father had hired the man as a delivery driver for a restaurant owned by the victim’s grandfather almost 10 years before the man began committing the offences. The man was regarded as a long-time employee and “more than a worker”, said Deputy Public Prosecutors David Khoo and N K Anitha.
The man also cared for the victim and her younger sisters like his own daughters, and would buy toys and sweets for them, they added. The victim, who is now nine years old, also shared a close relationship with the man, whom she affectionately called “Uncle”.
When the victim’s father and grandfather had a falling-out, the man also acted as the “trusted link” between the estranged families, bringing food and household items to the victim’s home. He also visited the victim on his own accord during his free time.
But investigations revealed that when no one was watching, the man would make the victim sit on his lap, before sexually assaulting her in the rest area of the office of her family’s restaurant. The man also kissed and licked the victim’s genitals on several occasions, exposed himself to her and invited her to touch his genitals, which she did.
The man also showed the victim a pornographic video on his phone on one occasion.
These offences, which began in 2015 when the victim was in Primary 1, went on for nearly 15 months, according to court documents. The man continued his offences even while visiting the victim at her home.
The man was discovered in December 2016, when, on one occasion, the victim’s domestic helper saw his hand inside the victim’s tights. She had also heard the victim tell the man, “Uncle, stop it”.
After the man left the house, the domestic helper asked the victim what had happened. The victim started to cry and told her what the man had done.
The victim and her family members filed a police report soon after.
MAN ABUSED TRUST OF VICTIM’S FAMILY
Prosecutors called for a sentence of 28 years’ jail for the man, pointing out that the man had abused a young child’s affection towards him, as well as her family’s trust, to “satisfy his lustful desires”.
“Given the nature and frequency of the offences he committed against the very young victim, it is unimaginable what fate could have befallen her had the offences not been discovered,” they said.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Wee Hong Shern said that such a term would be “crushing” and “excessive”, explaining that the man had never, on any occasion, used violence in order to commit the offences. He added that the man had also been very careful not to cause the victim physical pain, and is “truly remorseful” for his wrongdoing.
In asking the judge for leniency, Mr Wee pointed out that the man was “very lonely and miserable” before committing the offences, and has not slept on the same bed with his wife for more than 20 years. A jail term of 20 years, he said, would serve as “sufficient deterrence”.
In sentencing the man, Justice Woo Bih Li noted that there was an element of trust by the man’s employer. Although the man’s relationship with the victim’s family was not the same as that of a family relationship or one between a teacher and student, the man, nonetheless, had betrayed the trust of his employer, he said.