SINGAPORE: A 53-year-old security officer who raped his relative's maid was sentenced to jail for 10-and-a-half years on Monday (Mar 18).
The man, who was referred to only as A1 in court documents, had preyed on the 26-year-old Indonesian domestic helper, who worked for his niece.
The Singaporean man, who cannot be caned as he is above 50 years old, had a rented flat in Johor Bahru with his girlfriend and travelled daily to Chinatown Plaza for work.
To avoid the commute from Malaysia, A1 stayed frequently at his niece's flat, sleeping on a sofa in the living room as there were only two bedrooms in the unit.
The court heard that the helper, who has a three-year-old daughter in Indonesia, worked for A1's niece between Jun 24, 2016, and Nov 18, 2017, the day she was raped.
A few months after she began working at the flat, A1 told her that he liked her, said Deputy Public Prosecutors Raja Mohan and Andre Ong.
"The victim politely rejected him by replying that she was married," said the prosecution. On another occasion, he told her that he wanted to marry her and live with her in Indonesia.
The maid rejected the advances of the man whom she addressed as "pakcik" or "uncle" in Bahasa Indonesia.
A1 began stroking the helper's hair and squeezing her buttocks when they were alone in the flat. The victim reacted by pushing him away, quickly walking away and threatening to tell his niece about it.
"She did not disclose these incidents to (his niece) because she did not think that (the niece) would believe her," said the prosecutors. "The victim confided in her friend, who also told her that her employer was unlikely to believe her."
FROM HUGGING TO "GIVING A MASSAGE"
The rape happened on a Saturday, after A1's niece had gone to work. The house was empty as the niece's children were staying over at their grandmother's place.
On the morning of Nov 18, 2017, A1 hugged the helper from behind while she was doing her chores. The woman, who is only about 1.42m tall, struggled but her attacker refused to let go.
She then elbowed him and ran to the living room, observing that he stared at her constantly from the balcony while smoking.
At about 10am, the helper saw a tube of Yoko Yoko muscle rub for stiff shoulders on the dining table next to A1's bag. She asked the older man if she could use it, and he said that he would give it to her later, the court heard.
She continued with her chores and was wiping a study table in the room she shared with one of the niece's daughters, when A1 entered the room. He was not dressed, save for only a towel wrapped around his waist.
He handed the muscle rub to the victim and offered to apply it on her back, a proposition the woman rejected.
She then lowered the collar of her shirt to apply the ointment on the back of her neck and shoulders, intending to return the tube once she had used it.
However, before she could finish applying the ointment, A1 turned the victim around so that her back faced him and took the ointment from her hand.
He then pressed downwards on her shoulder and inserted his arm into the opening of her shirt and applied the muscle rub on her upper back.
This was a pretext for him to take advantage of her, the prosecution said.
"As the accused applied the muscle rub on the victim's back, he felt 'horny' and had the urge to have sex with the victim," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Raja Mohan.
After this, he forced the victim to sit on the edge of the bed and pushed her back-first onto the bed. The woman told him "jangan jangan", which means "don't don't" in Bahasa Indonesia.
The victim struggled and kicked at him, shouting repeatedly in Bahasa Indonesia: "Pakcik, don't."
Her struggling caused him to use more force, which hurt her, so she eventually gave up struggling, the prosecution said.
The man then raped the victim without using any protection.
ATTACK LEFT BLOOD STAINS, RAPIST OFFERED VICTIM EARRINGS
Deeply troubled by what had happened, she sent a message to her sister-in-law, who told her to leave the flat and seek help from the embassy.
After the incident, A1 offered her a pair of earrings and told her not to tell his niece about what had happened. The victim refused to accept the jewellery, but her rapist insisted that she take them.
She returned them to him after cleaning the toilet. At about 11am, when she saw him sleeping on the sofa, she left the flat and got a passer-by to help make a police report.
A1 was arrested that evening when he returned to the flat after fishing at Punggol.
He had told a doctor during an erectile function examination that he could achieve an erection only seven out of 10 times. The doctor said A1 "might have erectile dysfunction" but that his "erection status is situational" and that it was possible he sustained an erection at the time of the offence.
MAN WAS "SPIRITUALLY DISTURBED": DEFENCE
The man pleaded guilty to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault by penetration, with two other related charges taken into consideration.
The prosecution had asked for at least 11 years' jail and an additional four to five months' jail in lieu of 10 strokes of the cane.
They pointed out that the victim was vulnerable as a domestic helper and as a foreigner unfamiliar with Singapore's legal system.
"Ultimately, it was her abased status within the household she worked in that rendered her especially vulnerable to the accused's sexual assaults, and which allowed the accused the opportunity to repeatedly sexually assault her when no one was in the flat," said the prosecution.
Defence counsel Kalidass Murugaiyan asked for up to nine years' jail instead. He said his client did not plan to commit the offences, and that he is "unable to believe that he has been capable of conducting himself in such a manner".
"He is consumed by guilt as he realises that he has caused a great deal of distress," said the lawyer.
He added that his client had previously "encountered a supernatural entity in the course of his work as a security guard".
"He firmly believes that he was spiritually disturbed at the time of the offences," he said.
Judicial Commissioner Audrey Lim said the attacks were "undoubtedly an abuse of his position of trust" and stressed that there was a need to send a message of general deterrence.