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Singapore

Father raped and sexually abused daughter for 7 years from when she was 7, gets jail and caning

Father raped and sexually abused daughter for 7 years from when she was 7, gets jail and caning

File photo of the exterior of Singapore's Supreme Court.

SINGAPORE: A man raped and sexually abused his young daughter over seven years, grooming her by showing her pornography and making sure his wife was not around when he assaulted her.

The abuse started when the girl was seven years old. 

The offences were revealed only when the girl, now 16, went to the police for another case of sexual assault. The girl and her mother have forgiven the man, said defence lawyers, with the man's wife attending court proceedings.

The 48-year-old man was sentenced on Thursday (Aug 20) to 28 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane, after pleading guilty to three charges of aggravated statutory rape. 

Three other charges of aggravated sexual assault and a charge of exhibiting an obscene object to a young person were taken into consideration for sentencing.

All parties cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the victim.

The court heard that the man was self-employed and was 38 when he first began the crimes against his biological daughter.

The man lived with the victim, his wife and the victim's younger sister.

FIRST RAPED HER WHEN SHE WAS 7 WHEN WIFE WAS WORKING

The first incident of rape occurred between 2010 and 2011, when the self-employed man was home with his two daughters and his wife was out for work.

He left the younger girl in the living room watching television before asking the victim, who was 7, to lock the door to the master bedroom so he could "massage her".

He molested her before raping her, and the girl complied with his demands as she was afraid that he would scold her if she did not.

The girl felt pain when she urinated afterwards, but her father told her not to tell her mother or anyone else about what happened. Before this incident, he had shown his daughter pornographic videos on his phone, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Jane Lim.

The man raped his older daughter again between 2011 and 2012, and in June 2015, when his younger child was in another room and his wife was once again out for work.

Between 2010 and 2017, he also sexually abused the victim in other ways that were captured in the charges taken into consideration.

On Dec 23, 2017, the victim told her mother that she had been sexually assaulted when she was younger.

CRIMES UNCOVERED WHEN REPORTING ANOTHER ASSAULT

Her mother took her to a police station the next day to report the crime. During investigations, the victim revealed to the police that her father had also raped her, and he was arrested later that day.

The girl had not consented to any of the sexual acts her father committed on her, and was too young to know or understand the nature of the acts, said the prosecution.

It was only when she was nine that she began to realise that her father's actions were sexual in nature and wrong.

"However, the victim complied with the accused’s sexual demands thereafter because the accused is her father and she loved him," said Ms Lim.

The girl shared "a good relationship" with her father, because he "treated her nicely and did not scold her often", and did not tell anyone about the acts because he had told her not to after each incident, added Ms Lim.

She was also afraid and did not want to get her father into trouble or risk breaking up the family, the court heard.

Ms Lim asked for 30 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane for the man, who had no previous convictions.

She said there was a clear abuse of trust in this case, with the man "completely robbing" the girl of her innocence and subjecting her to repeated sexual abuse in her own home.

READ: Man jailed 32 years for raping and sexually assaulting his daughter at knifepoint in 'horrific' case

"Every little girl looks up to her father as her protector, her guardian and her provider," she said. 

"However, for the victim, her biological father abused the absolute trust she reposed in him to commit heinous sexual acts against her from when she was only at the tender age of seven."

As the victim's father, the man was in a position of absolute authority and influence, but grossly abused this to satiate his sexual desires, added Ms Lim.

TURNED FAMILY HOME INTO TORTURE ZONE: PROSECUTOR

He took advantage of the fact that his daughter loved him, violated the sanctity of the family home and turned it instead into a "torture zone", she said.

What may have started as an "opportunistic crime" turned into a pattern of offending, with the man sexually grooming his daughter and desensitising her by showing her porn and repeatedly telling her not to speak about the incident.

The man had also exposed the young girl to the risk of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), said Ms Lim.

Defence lawyer Daniel Atticus Xu asked instead for 26 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane, saying that his client had not used force or threats against the victim. 

There was also no pregnancy nor STDs, said Mr Xu.

In response to this, the judge said that "in any event, there has to be force in a rape".

Referring to the accused's wife, Mr Xu said she has been following the case very closely. 

WIFE IN CONFLICTED SITUATION: DEFENCE

"I would say she is in a very conflicted situation. On the one hand is her daughter, on the other hand is her husband," he said. 

"On behalf of (the couple), we are praying that you would give an appropriate sentence."

Mr Xu flagged that his client has a spinal injury from his time serving national service and might not be fit for caning, but the prosecutor said it was not the right forum to raise this.

Ms Lim argued the absence of pregnancy and STDs were not mitigating, and said there is no evidence of the spinal injury. 

Referring to the defence's point that the man's wife and daughter have forgiven him, Ms Lim said this did not lessen the gravity of the crime, citing a previous judgment that stated that any forgiveness by a victim should not have an effect on the sentence itself.

Justice Dedar Singh Gill said the victim was young and vulnerable, with her father abusing his authority for "his own perverse sexual gratification" for a long period of seven years.

"This was an age when the victim should have been enjoying a blissful and carefree life," he said. 

He granted the defence's request for the man to have some time to speak to his wife after the hearing.

For each charge of aggravated statutory rape, the man could have been jailed between eight and 20 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane.

Source: CNA/ll(ta)

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