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Woman on trial for helping her lover sexually assault her daughter to 'cure' her period, bad luck

Woman on trial for helping her lover sexually assault her daughter to 'cure' her period, bad luck

People walk across a bridge near the Supreme Court in Singapore on Nov 9, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: A 62-year-old woman went on trial on Tuesday (Nov 30) for conspiring with her lover to sexually abuse her youngest child between the ages of 10 and 16.

The 70-year-old man, who worked at a temple, allegedly massaged the victim to "cure" her irregular menstruation and performed "ritual showers" to get rid of her "bad luck".

The woman and her lover are also accused of showing the girl pornography and having sex in front of the victim, asking her to watch and "learn".

All parties in the case cannot be named due to gag orders issued by the court to protect the identity of the victim, who is now 20.

The victim's mother is contesting 13 charges including conspiring with the man to sexually assault the victim when she was under 14, conspiring with him to procure the victim's sexual exploitation and exhibiting obscene objects to a young person.

Her lover claimed trial to 15 charges including sexual assault by penetration of a minor, outrage of modesty, sexual exploitation and exhibiting obscene objects to a young person.

According to the prosecution's opening address, the victim got to know her mother's lover when she was in Primary 2. She is the youngest of four children and lived with her parents and siblings in a flat.

Her elder brother was a member of a lion dance troupe the man coached, at the temple where he had a clinic.

The victim's mother began taking the girl to visit her lover at the temple, where the man would perform massages for both the victim and her mother.

Sometime in 2011, after the man's clinic at the temple closed down, the man began massaging the victim and her family members at their flat.

It was during these massages at the victim's home that the two accused began conspiring to sexually abuse the girl, the prosecution said.

The man allegedly began molesting the girl, who would voice her discomfort but was told by her mother to keep quiet and obey the man, said the prosecutors.

By the time the victim was in Primary 5 in 2012, she would be instructed to strip naked for the massages. The man sexually assaulted her under the guise of "treating" her irregular menstruation, said the prosecution.

The girl's mother would instruct her to keep quiet if she shouted in pain, and hold down her ankles to allow the man to sexually assault her, the prosecutors said.

According to the prosecution's case, the man began performing other sexual acts on the victim between 2012 and 2017, and removed his own clothes during the massage sessions.

He also asked the girl to perform a sex act on him, and her mother would "encourage" her to do so by saying that he was giving them free massages, so the girl should massage him when he asked her to. The victim massaged the man's private parts between 2015 and 2017, the prosecutors alleged.

COUPLE ALLEGEDLY HAD SEX IN FRONT OF HER

Other than the massages, the couple also showed the victim pornographic videos. The girl's mother would make her watch pornography with her when the girl was in Primary 4, said the prosecutors.

By the time she was in Secondary 2 and 3, the man would play pornography on his phone for himself, his lover and the victim to watch before or after his massages, the prosecution said.

The couple also allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse in front of the victim, with the girl distracting herself by looking at her phone as she disliked watching the acts.

After the first occasion, she asked her mother why she had to watch them have sex, and her mother purportedly cited her lover, who said the victim should watch them to learn how to have sex and eventually engage in sex with him.

According to the prosecution's case, the offences took on a different form from August 2017. The man would say he needed to conduct prayers to "rid" the victim of evil spirits.

He would light candles, position bowls of water and flowers and perform chants before carrying out ritual showers on the victim to get rid of her "bad luck".

He would then sexually assault her during these showers, the prosecutors said.

The victim lodged a police report in November 2017 after confiding in her boyfriend.

VICTIM'S BOYFRIEND AND BROTHERS TO TESTIFY

The prosecutors will lead evidence from 26 witnesses, including the victim's boyfriend, to prove the charges.

Two of the victim's brothers will testify that the man regularly massaged the victim in the master bedroom with their mother present. One of them will testify that he chanced upon his mother showing the victim pornography, and that he saw the man massaging the victim while clad only in boxers.

The man is represented by lawyers Charles Ng, Edwin Lee and Patrick Yeo, while the woman is defended by Mr Irving Choh and Jheong Siew Yin.

The trial is set to continue for the rest of the week in the High Court.

If convicted of sexual assault by penetration of a minor, the man can be jailed for between eight and 20 years. He cannot be caned as he is above 50 years old, and his co-accused cannot be caned as she is a woman.

The penalties for sexual exploitation of a young person are a jail term of up to five years, a fine of up to S$10,000, or both.

The punishment for using criminal force to outrage a person's modesty is a maximum of two years' jail, a fine, caning, or any combination of these penalties.

Source: CNA/ll(gr)

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