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Singapore

Man admits repeatedly molesting, sexually abusing cousin over three years from when she was 8

SINGAPORE: A teenager began molesting and sexually abusing his cousin from when she was eight, with the offences coming to light only when she turned 12 and told her friends about her pregnancy fears.

The 20-year-old man pleaded guilty on Wednesday (Aug 12) to one count of outraging his cousin's modesty and two counts of sexual penetration of a minor. Another 14 charges will be taken into consideration for sentencing.

The man cannot be named due to a gag order protecting the identity of the victim, who is now 15.

The court heard that the victim regarded the accused as her older brother, playing together with him since they were young children.

The girl visited the accused's flat frequently as her aunt and grandmother would often take care of her, and also stayed for a time at the accused's flat due to her parents' housing situation.

The accused began preying on his cousin in 2014, after seeing her coming out naked from the shower. He molested her while the adults were out, initially feeling disgusted with himself but later feeling that the consequences were "not as bad", as he thought his cousin would not understand what had happened.

He molested her again several months later, asking her if she was "fine" afterwards, and sexually abused her in December 2014 when his cousin was nine.

He repeated the acts on four occasions during the school holidays in 2015, with the girl telling him each time that she was in pain, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kee En.

The victim did not understand what was happening, covering her face and body with her blanket whenever he abused her, which continued in 2016 when she went to his flat.

In May 2016, when the victim's parents were waiting for their flat, the family stayed with the accused.

The accused forced his cousin to perform a sex act on him during the June holidays and again sexually abused her in September that year.

The accused continued molesting and sexually abusing his cousin in 2016 and 2017.

GIRL WAS FEARFUL OF BECOMING PREGNANT

In August 2017, the victim felt pain in her stomach. She was in Primary 6 at the time and was worried as she thought she could get pregnant from anal penetration.

She told her close friends about this fear and later revealed that her cousin had sexually abused her. Her teacher was alerted to it and took her to a police station.

The victim said that her cousin did not threaten her during the sexual acts, although he told her not to tell anyone.

She felt scared, uncomfortable and confused as to why he was doing those acts, but did not really understand the seriousness of the matter although she felt uneasy about it, the court heard.

She also kept quiet as she did not want to break up the family and she was extremely close to her aunt.

She felt sad at the thought of her cousin being punished and was worried about how her aunt and grandmother would take the news, said the prosecutor.

ACCUSED FELT COUSIN WAS "FINE WITH IT"

The accused admitted to the acts and said he had not initiated penile-vaginal intercourse as he did not want his cousin to get pregnant. He said that he had asked her if she was okay several times after the sexual activity and she had replied in the affirmative, so he felt that she was "fine with it".

Therefore, he carried this on for years, "even though he knew what he was doing was wrong", court documents said.

He was assessed at the Institute of Mental Health and no evidence of mental illness was found. He also received counselling.

The psychiatrist felt that the offences were committed "when there was a lack of supervision, leading to the sexual relationship".

The victim and her mother moved out of the accused's flat immediately after the offences were reported, and the accused apologised to the victim's mother and father.

The accused now interacts with the victim only by greetings at family gatherings and when there is close parental supervision.

The prosecutor objected to the defence's request to call for a probation suitability report, but did not object to the calling of a reformative training suitability report.

Mr Chong said the accused has committed very serious sexual offences, with 17 charges committed over three years.

Although the accused was young when he committed the offences, the crimes are serious ones against a young victim who regarded him as an older brother.

The judge called for a reformative training suitability report and adjourned sentencing to Aug 19.

Source: CNA/ll(hs)

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