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Singapore

Father gets jail, caning for sexually abusing 4-year-old daughter after showing her porn

Father gets jail, caning for sexually abusing 4-year-old daughter after showing her porn

Photo illustration of a child in distress. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A man who repeatedly sexually abused his four-year-old daughter after showing her pornography was sentenced to 15 years' jail and 15 strokes of the cane on Monday (Mar 8).

The 33-year-old man, who cannot be named due to gag orders protecting the identity of his daughter, pleaded guilty to one charge each of aggravated molestation and sexual assault by penetration. 

Another five charges, including showing pornography to his daughter, were considered in sentencing.

The court heard that the offender and the victim's mother were married in 2009, but their marriage broke down a few years later.

The girl and her mother moved out sometime between 2012 and 2013, but the girl would stay over at her father's on weekends.

The man first sexually assaulted his daughter in March 2015. He continued to do so between April and May that year in his bedroom.

Each time before he molested the girl, the offender would show her pornographic videos that he was watching. On one occasion, he asked her to "follow the video", and the victim complied.

Sometime in 2015, the victim's mother noticed that the girl was emotional and not her usual self after she returned home from a weekend at her father's place.

She questioned her daughter, who said her father had asked her to lick "below that thing", and demonstrated actions suggestive of oral sex.

The girl's mother was shocked and confronted the accused over the phone. He initially denied it but later admitted his acts, promising not to do it again and imploring her not to report the matter to the police.

The victim's mother decided not to make a police report at first, after considering the accused's promise and the fact that her daughter appeared distressed and would not be able to see her father in jail.

She tried to prevent her daughter from seeing her father, but eventually relented as the girl asked to do so.

The offences came to light only in July 2019, when the girl's mother sought help at a family service centre for the victim's behavioural issues.

While discussing the child's background, the victim's mother revealed that the accused had sexually assaulted the victim, and a police report was lodged.

The accused was assessed by the Institute of Mental Health after his arrest and was found to be of sound mind, with no psychiatric disorder.

The victim was examined in a hospital and found to have an old hymenal tear.

A report showed that she had undergone surgery in October 2015 to remove a plastic toy shoe and another item from her vagina. The victim said she had inserted the items herself.

MORAL CORRUPTION AN AGGRAVATING FACTOR: PROSECUTORS

The offender has no previous convictions. Deputy Public Prosecutors Daphne Lim and Lim Shin Hui sought the sentence that was eventually meted out, saying that he had robbed his biological daughter of her innocence by exploiting her for his own sexual gratification.

One of the aggravating factors is "moral corruption", as the man would show his daughter porn before each incident. There was also an escalation in his acts - beginning with molest and proceeding to sexual assault on the third occasion.

The molestation was of a "very intrusive nature", with skin-on-skin contact, said the prosecutors.

Responding to the defence's point that the girl has forgiven her father, the prosecution said this is not relevant in sentencing considerations.

Defence lawyer Chong Xin Yi said her client had "stopped himself" before his ex-wife intervened, and continued to have "a good father and daughter relationship" with the victim for four years before his arrest.

"The accused has to live with the knowledge of what he has done, and we would submit that that in itself is retribution enough," said Ms Chong.

"To date he cannot forgive himself for what he has done. His daughter still misses him," she said, adding that the offender is "committed to being the best father he can".

Justice Valerie Thean said the accused "really needs to think about it and consider his actions in relation to his child".

Age and vulnerability are especially serious issues in this case, she said, adding that the accused is the biological father of the victim and in a position of trust and authority.

She highlighted the victim's "extreme youth" and said the man had abused his position of parental responsibility in the sanctity of his home.

For molesting a minor, the man could have been jailed for up to five years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these penalties.

For sexual assault by penetration of a minor, he could have been jailed between eight and 20 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane.

Source: CNA/ll

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