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Singapore

Jail for man who molested 9-year-old daughter of family friends during tuition

Jail for man who molested 9-year-old daughter of family friends during tuition

Photo illustration of a child in distress. (Photo: Jeremy Long/CNA)

SINGAPORE: A 60-year-old man was on Tuesday (Aug 16) sentenced to more than one-and-a-half years in prison for molesting a nine-year-old girl.

The incidents in 2016 and 2019 took place while the girl was receiving tuition from the man's wife in their home.

The offender cannot be named as this could lead to identification of the victim, who is protected by gag order.

He was convicted in April of one count of outraging a minor's modesty and one count of attempting to do so, after contesting the charges at trial.

The prosecution sought the sentence imposed, citing the offender's abuse of trust, intrusion of the victim's body and exploitation of a vulnerable victim, and the psychological harm she suffered.

After the sentencing, the offender indicated that he would appeal against his conviction and sentence.

WHAT HAPPENED

The court previously heard that the offender and his wife were close family friends with the victim's parents.

The offender had known the victim since she was about three, and was especially close to her among her siblings.

He would exclusively buy presents for the victim during her birthday and when she did well for her examinations, said the prosecution.

In 2016, the victim and her younger sister were having tuition in the offender's home when the victim had a breakout of hives on her arm.

The offender offered to help apply powder to the girl's arm so his wife could continue teaching her younger sister.

While in the master bedroom, with the door closed, he told the victim to pull her pants down and molested her, the prosecution added.

The prosecution also argued that the man tried to molest the victim in his home between Sep 9 and Sep 13, 2019.

During one of her tuition breaks, she was sitting on the edge of the living room sofa when the offender sat next to her.

He tried to put his hand down the back of her pants. When the victim felt his touch, she swept his hand away and he stood up and left.

The incidents went unreported until 2019, when the offender asked the victim if her younger sister had already grown pubic hair.

This greatly alarmed the victim, who became afraid that her sister would also fall prey to the man.

She decided to talk to a friend about this, and eventually told a school counsellor about what had happened.

The victim did not tell anyone about the 2016 incident earlier because she did not know what he had done was wrong at the time.

She only realised this when she learnt what a "bad touch" was in a Primary 5 sex education class, which led to her breaking down in school.

She also testified that she did not report the matter to her parents as she was not close to her family members then, and was in fact closer to the offender at the time.

The victim's medical report stated that she sometimes had flashbacks and nightmares of the incidents, and bad dreams about people she trusts. She also had thoughts of self-harm.

District Judge Victor Yeo previously ruled that the prosecution proved its case against the man on both charges.

He found the victim's evidence to be unusually convincing, whereas the offender's denial of the allegations was inconsistent and not credible.

For outraging the modesty of a child, the man could have been jailed for up to five years, fined or both. Attempted outrage of modesty carries up to half the maximum jail term.

The man cannot be caned as he is above 50.

Source: CNA/dv(ta)

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