SINGAPORE: A 42-year-old man admitted on Tuesday (Jul 2) to sexually assaulting his stepdaughter for about one-and-a-half years from when she was eight, increasing his abuse when his wife was pregnant and he could not be intimate with her as frequently.
The man, who cannot be named due to a gag order, pleaded guilty to three charges of sexual assault and outraging the child's modesty, with another seven charges taken into consideration.
He had meant to plead guilty three times before, but contested facts outlined by the prosecution in the last hearing. He claimed that his stepdaughter had "consented" to some acts and had "initiated" some of them, causing the judge to reject his plea.
The man worked as a canteen helper at his uncle's drinks stall and had two children with his wife, the biological mother of the victim.
The family lived in a flat with his wife's four other children from a previous marriage, including the victim, and the wife's parents, grandaunt and maid.
The victim slept on a small bed in the same bedroom as her parents, while her parents slept on a bigger bed with one of the victim's step-siblings, and another step-sibling slept in a cot in the same room.
On some occasions, the accused slept with the victim in her bed, and on others, positioned himself behind the victim on his own bed.
HE BEGAN ASSAULTING HER AFTER NOTICING HER UNDERWEAR
The man began sexually assaulting his stepdaughter in January 2015, when the child was eight years old and in Primary 3, after noticing that her nightdress hiked up her body while she slept, revealing her underwear.
This aroused him and he began sexually abusing her regularly when he thought she was asleep, said Deputy Public Prosecutors Kavita Uthrapathy and Amanda Han.
He began by molesting the girl over her clothes, then proceeded to more intrusive acts in the bedroom, all while the rest of the family was asleep, and often when his wife was asleep in the same room.
Out of fear of her stepfather, the child usually pretended to be asleep while she was being attacked, and occasionally resisted by pushing his hands away or turning to the side.
On one occasion in 2015, the girl asked her stepfather to lie beside her as she was afraid of a heavy thunderstorm.
The man lay beside her in her bed, until the child fell asleep. He became sexually aroused and started assaulting her. The child pretended to be asleep for fear of a scolding if she woke up.
FATHER FOUND OUT WHAT HAPPENED, MADE POLICE REPORT
Whenever the victim went to stay with her biological father, she would cry when it was time to return home as she was afraid of what her stepfather would do to her, the court heard.
On previous occasions, her father thought she was crying because she wanted to stay with him longer.
But on Oct 17, 2016, after another stay with her father and when it was time for her to return home, she began crying hysterically and refused to enter the flat.
Feeling that something was amiss, her father and mother took her downstairs where she told them that her stepfather had sexually assaulted her.
Her father lodged a police report soon after, and the child moved in with him.
The stepfather was arrested at his workplace the following day. He told police that he had noticed his stepdaughter developing physically and that she had become "curvaceous like a woman".
MAN TOLD POLICE HE WAS OVERCOME WITH LUST
He sexually assaulted her when she was asleep as he was "overcome with lust" for her, court documents said.
During police investigations, he admitted that he had thought about having sex with his stepdaughter but did not do so. He also said the victim had tried to resist his advances on occasion.
The child was taken to Singapore Personal Counselling Service where a report said she was having nightmares about her stepfather and was mentally disturbed.
An assessment by the Institute of Mental Health found that she had emotional difficulties including feeling anxious and hurt by the reaction of her maternal relatives.
The man pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual penetration of a minor and two charges of outraging his stepdaughter's modesty.
The sentencing has been adjourned to a later date.
For sexual penetration of a minor, he could be jailed between eight and 20 years, and given at least 12 strokes of the cane.
For each charge of outraging the modesty of a minor, he could be jailed up to five years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these penalties.