SINGAPORE: A 56-year-old man was sentenced to jail for one year and eight months on Tuesday (Jan 8) for molesting his girlfriend's underage daughter.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, blamed his 55-year-old girlfriend for tempting him by leaving him alone with her daughter, who was 11 years old then.
The court heard that the man was the long-term boyfriend of the child's mother.
He was left alone with the girl in their flat in western Singapore as the girl's mother and 15-year-old brother had gone out to run errands.
At about 4.20pm on Apr 12 last year, the man kissed the 11-year-old girl while resting his arm on her chest, before proceeding to molest her over her clothes.
Although the child felt frightened and wanted to tell the man "no" or ask him to stop, she could not say a word as he was kissing her, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sruthi Boppana said.
When he stopped kissing her and left her alone, the crying child called her mother and told her what happened.
The woman returned home quickly and confronted her boyfriend, who confessed. Her teenage son got home soon after and called the police, saying: "My mum friend do something to my sister. No need ambulance. Molest."
The call picked up the sound of a woman screaming in the background, court documents said.
VICTIM FELT SAD AND FEARFUL AFTER INCIDENT
During investigations, the man said he felt that his girlfriend had been tempting him by leaving him alone at home with the victim.
After the incident, the child began feeling sad and fearful, and had difficulty trusting others, the prosecutor said.
She said the man should be sentenced to one-and-a-half years' jail and three strokes of the cane. However, as he is over the age of 50, he cannot be caned, so she asked for six weeks' jail in lieu of caning.
Stressing that the man clearly abused his position of trust as a father figure to the girl, the prosecutor said the man had externalised the blame instead of accepting responsibility.
The man's defence lawyer Henry Lim asked the judge not to impose an additional jail term in lieu of caning, saying that the 18 months asked for by the prosecution was sufficient for him to learn his lesson.
"He's absolutely remorseful," said Mr Lim. "He has learnt his lesson. He has done wrong, I do not condone or give any excuses for what he has done."
He also urged the court to take into account his client's early plea of guilt and clean record.
District Judge Victor Yeo said he took into consideration the fact that the accused spared the child the experience of having to testify against him and reliving the incident.
However, he noted that the offence was committed in "the sanctuary of the home when they were alone", and considered how sad and fearful the child now feels.
He ruled that there was no need to impose a further jail term in lieu of caning.