SINGAPORE: After a "feng shui" master advised him to have sex with a virgin to "see blood" and avoid a life-threatening mishap, a man raped his 11-year-old daughter.
He later admitted that he could not explain why but was "aroused by her".
The 50-year-old man, who cannot be named due to gag orders protecting the victim's identity, was sentenced to 23 years' jail on Monday (Oct 18).
He pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated statutory rape and aggravated sexual assault by penetration, with another seven charges taken into consideration.
The court heard that the man worked as a store assistant and stayed in a four-room flat with his family - his wife, his brother, the victim and the victim's older sister.
Sometime in September 2018, the man consulted a Chinese geomancy or "feng shui" master in Malaysia, who advised him to have sexual intercourse with a virgin by the end of 2018 "so that can see blood".
This was purportedly for him to avoid a life-threatening mishap in 2019. The feng shui master offered to help him procure what was required for RM2,000 (S$650) to avoid tragedy from befalling him.
However, the man did not take up the offer as he did not have enough money.
According to the defence, the man was "deeply disturbed" by the predictions.
MAN BEGAN PREYING ON HIS YOUNGER DAUGHTER
In October 2018, the accused started "developing sexual desires" for his 11-year-old daughter when they engaged in physical horseplay, the prosecutor said.
He molested her and asked her not to tell anyone, and his daughter began avoiding sleeping with him. Instead, she would sleep either with her mother or her sister.
As the accused did not have opportunities to be alone with the girl at night, he found opportunities during the day, on weekends or during school holidays, the court heard.
Sometime between October and December 2018, when the victim's mother and sister were out shopping for groceries, the accused entered the bedroom the victim was in and closed the door.
He then raped the 11-year-old girl, who felt pain and told him to stop. The man stopped shortly before his wife and older daughter returned home as he had been anticipating their return.
The accused sexually assaulted his daughter again before December 2018 while he was at home alone with her.
THE GIRL DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO
The girl did not tell her mother or sister about what had happened, as she did not want her parents to fight or divorce each other.
She was also afraid that her mother would scold or blame her, as her mother had previously told her that she should not let anyone touch her or be naked in front of others.
She felt sad and did not know what to do, as she could not tell her mother about it and her mother was the closest person to her in the family, the prosecutor said.
The offences came to light only when the girl's behaviour worsened in school in August 2019. She was caught drinking vodka and using an electronic cigarette and broke down when questioned by her form teacher.
She revealed that her father had "touched her", and the school counsellor and the Ministry of Social and Family Development were alerted. Officers took the girl to make a police report on Aug 29, 2019.
She had repetitive thoughts of the offending acts during her Primary School Leaving Examinations and would tear up when talking about the offences.
Her father was arrested and assessed by a psychiatrist, who found he had no mental illness nor intellectual disability.
The offender told the psychiatrist he had planned to have sex with the victim after hearing the feng shui master's predictions.
"He could not explain why he chose the victim, but admitted that he was sexually aroused by her," Deputy Public Prosecutor Joshua Lim said.
He asked for at least 23 years' jail, inclusive of a year's jail in lieu of caning, saying that the man had looked for opportunities to commit the offences while his family members were out.
He also used her as "a tool for which he could prevent mishap to himself", said Mr Lim.
HE IS REMORSEFUL, REALISES FOLLY: DEFENCE
Defence lawyer Audrey Koo asked instead for not more than 19 years' jail, saying her client is "deeply remorseful" and realises the foolishness of his actions.
She said he was "deeply disturbed by the feng shui master's predictions", with "fears about this prophesied tragedy" plaguing him for months after.
He has pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, fully cooperated with the police and understands that his actions have affected his familial relationships irreparably, she said.
"He truly regrets the offences he committed out of a moment of folly and in fear of the feng shui master's predictions. Even today, he cannot believe that he did this to his own daughter," she said.
The lawyer added that the man's family has "shown signs of forgiveness" towards him and continues to visit him in prison.
For rape, he could have been given between eight and 20 years' jail. He cannot be caned as he is 50. The penalties are the same for sexual assault by penetration against a minor.