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Singapore

Man admits sexually abusing 2 boys he invited to stay with him after they were evicted

Man admits sexually abusing 2 boys he invited to stay with him after they were evicted

The entrance of the Supreme Court in Singapore.

SINGAPORE: When his godsons were evicted from their home, a man invited them to stay with him and his wife, but later sexually assaulted the older boy and molested his younger brother.

The man pleaded guilty on Monday (Mar 22) to two counts of sexual assault by penetration, with three other charges taken into consideration for sentencing. All parties in the case cannot be named due to gag orders protecting the identities of the victims.

The court heard that the victims were aged 12 and 10 to 11 at the time of the offences. Their father had abandoned the family and returned to his home country about 10 years ago.

The boys and their mother were under a safety plan by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) at the time of the offences due to their mother's "lack of adequate parenting skills", court documents said.

Sometime in August 2019, the boys and their mother were evicted from their home due to a family dispute, and stayed at a shelter while waiting for a rental flat.

The accused and his wife were godparents to the boys and had known them for at least three years before the offences. They offered to let the boys stay with them in their one-room flat, with the accused saying this would allow him to spend more time with them.

Care workers assessed the accused, his wife and their flat and considered the offer to be appropriate, so the boys and their mother were allowed to stay with the accused.

From Oct 25 to end-December 2019, the woman and her sons stayed with the accused and his wife. The boys enjoyed staying there as the accused would play video games with them, and he was often left to care for them when the other adults were out.

In the flat, the older boy would sleep on the same mattress as the accused while his younger brother slept on a mattress with his mother and grandfather.

"During the period of the boys' stay, the accused would ask his wife for sex regularly, but as (she) was having a urinary tract infection, she would decline," said the prosecutors.

HE BEGAN PREYING ON OLDER BOY

The accused first sexually assaulted the older boy sometime in end-2019 while the rest of the household was asleep. The boy felt great pain and wanted to shout to his mother for help, but the accused covered his mouth with his hand and said "shhh".

He pulled the boy back down when the latter tried to sit up. 

He took showers together with the victim throughout his stay at the flat, and the rest of the family did not think anything of this, said the prosecutors.

After the victim was circumcised in December 2019, his mother said she did not know how to bathe him and the accused took on the task.

He knew the victim had a quiet and reserved personality and was unlikely to raise complaints, and so believed there was little risk of his sexual assault coming to light.

He forced fellatio on the boy in the shower one day before sexually assaulting him. The boy did not tell anyone about the incidents.

It was only when his younger brother was molested by the accused that the older boy confided in the younger boy about the sexual abuse he had suffered.

At first, the younger boy did not tell his mother about what happened, as he was concerned that they would be thrown out on the street again and not have a place to stay.

It was only when the family moved out to their own rental flat in January 2020 that the two boys told their mother about the sexual abuse.

The social care worker helped them to report the matter to the police and the accused was arrested.

THE IMPACT ON THE OLDER BOY

The older boy felt a sense of helplessness each time he was sexually assaulted and was unable to tell his mother about it.

He developed high levels of fear and anger towards the accused, which were triggered when he heard the latter's name or the area of his flat.

He also displayed "distorted trauma-related cognitions related to the sexual abuse", thinking that even though he tried to shout when the man covered his mouth, he should have somehow refused.

He felt ashamed that the man had sexually assaulted him against his wishes, and felt sad when he thought about it. He coped by suppressing these thoughts and experienced anxiety when made to recount the incident.

His symptoms were diagnosed as trauma symptoms but did not meet the full criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, the court heard.

The boys are currently under the care of MSF, and the older boy has undergone eight psychotherapy counselling sessions for his trauma.

PROSECUTION PUSHES FOR JAIL AND MAXIMUM STROKES OF THE CANE

Deputy Public Prosecutors Marcus Foo and Chong Kee En asked for 19 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane, pointing to the accused's long history of offences.

He had committed offences relating to rioting and obscene films from 2003, being sentenced to a juvenile home from the age of 14. He committed outrage of modesty in 2015 and an obscene act in public in 2016, and has a proclivity to committing sexual offences.

"The accused took advantage of the precarious situation of a single mother, and perpetrated heinous sexual abuses on her young children," said the prosecutors.

"Bereft of a home, (the boys) looked to the only father figure in their life for love and protection. Instead, the accused’s flat became the place where their trust was shattered."

They added that children deserve to grow up in a safe and nurturing environment, and adults who choose to rob them of their innocence must have their actions "condemned in the strongest possible terms".

The defence lawyer asked for leniency. He said the accused's wife is seeking a divorce, and that the accused was stressed due to bills and his wife's condition – she suffers from depression and other medical issues.

The judge adjourned sentencing to April.

Source: CNA/ll

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