SINGAPORE: A man who molested his girlfriend's nine-year-old daughter while his girlfriend was in the toilet was sentenced on Thursday (Jun 18) to 20 months' jail and three strokes of the cane.
All parties involved cannot be named due to gag orders protecting the identity of the victim, who is now 10.
The 35-year-old man pleaded guilty to one charge of using criminal force to outrage the girl's modesty.
The court heard that the man started dating the 33-year-old woman in 2013 and the couple began living together - with the woman's daughter as well - in July 2018.
The man grew close to the victim, fetching her from school daily, playing with her and buying her gifts that her mother would not.
On Apr 5 last year, the couple and the girl went out to buy an electric bicycle and returned home at 9.30pm.
The girl removed her pants and placed them at the washing machine, before resting on a bed while her mother and the accused did household chores, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yong.
The man finished his chores at about 10pm and sat down next to the girl, who was lying on the bed.
He felt sexually aroused seeing her, and molested her three times. The girl sat up in shock, and the man molested her again. She told him to stop, but her pleas went unheeded, the court heard.
The man lay on the bed and exposed himself, grabbing the girl's hand. The girl told him that she did not want to touch him, but he continued pulling her hand towards his genitals.
At this point, the girl's mother came out from the toilet and saw her boyfriend and daughter. Shocked, she shouted at him and asked him what he was trying to do. The man immediately let go of the girl's hand and pretended that nothing had happened.
He told his girlfriend that he had not done anything, but she saw that her daughter looked "lost and confused", and immediately took her out of the house and to the void deck.
Although the girl was scared and hesitated to tell her mother what happened, she eventually recounted the incident after her mother comforted her.
The girl said that this was the first time the man had touched her in such a manner.
Her mother sent the girl to sleep at a neighbour's house that night, as she wanted to keep her away from her boyfriend. Later that night, the accused asked where the victim was, but the victim's mother did not tell him, as she feared for her daughter's safety.
The next day, the woman lodged a police report saying that her daughter had been molested by her boyfriend.
For using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a minor, the man could have been jailed for up to five years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these punishments.