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Singapore

Youth raped younger sister after years of sexually abusing her since she was 5, gets jail and caning

Youth raped younger sister after years of sexually abusing her since she was 5, gets jail and caning

File photo of the Supreme Court in Singapore (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: For years from when she was five years old, a boy sexually abused his sister, who was seven years younger than him.

When he turned 20, he raped the girl in the flat they shared with their mother and another sibling.

When their mother found out that her daughter was pregnant, she did not take her to hospital as she feared her son would get arrested. Instead, she took her to Malaysia for an abortion, but the doctor refused to perform the procedure.

The offences came to light only when the girl's school referred the case to the Ministry of Social and Family Development's Child Protection Services.

On Thursday (Jan 30), the now-22-year-old man was sentenced to 11-and-a-half years' jail and seven strokes of the cane.

All parties in the case cannot be named due to gag orders protecting the identity of the victim, who is now 14.

The court heard that the victim, accused and their mother lived together with another brother in a two-room flat.

Their mother had four children with their father, who stopped living with them in 2010, the same year the first offences began, and divorced their mother in 2013.

Her father had care and control of her under custody arrangements, but the victim, the youngest of the children, moved periodically between staying with her father and mother.

ACCUSED BEGAN WATCHING CARTOON PORN AT 13

In 2010, when the accused was 13, he became "curious about pornography" and began to watch pornographic animations or cartoons online, said Deputy Public Prosecutors Marshall Lim and Michelle Lu.

He did this for a few months and "developed a sexual interest in petite underage females", court documents said.

He began to feel the urge to perform the sexual acts he watched in the cartoons and decided to satisfy his urges using his sister, who was about five years old at the time.

During this period, whenever he felt sexually aroused, he would rub himself against the girl's thighs or privates.

On a second occasion in 2010, the accused approached his napping sister in his mother's flat after watching porn on his computer.

The Secondary 1 student rubbed himself against her genitals until he ejaculated on her.

MOTHER ASKED SON IF HE HAD MOLESTED SISTER AGAIN

Later, when their mother showered the victim, she noticed semen stains on her underwear and asked the accused "if he had molested the victim again", and if he had had sex with her.

The accused denied the latter, and his mother reminded him that the victim was his younger sister, and that he could not "do such a thing" to her.

He first raped his sister in June 2017, when he was 20 and she was 12. He did this again in the following months, and again for a third time sometime between August and September 2017, while the family was sleeping in the bedroom.

Their mother slept on a mattress on the floor, while the accused and his sister shared the lower deck of a double-decker bed.

The accused performed a sex act on his sister before raping her.

After this, their mother woke up and reminded the accused that the victim was his younger sister. She also asked him if he was "not scared of the consequences". 

GIRL BECAME PREGNANT

A few months after this in mid-October 2017, the girl told her mother that she had missed her period.

Worried that her daughter might be pregnant, the mother bought a pregnancy test kit for her, and it tested positive.

"The accused's mother suspected that the accused was the father of the child because she had caught the accused engaged in sexual acts with the victim on earlier occasions," said the prosecution.

Together with the accused, the mother took the victim to a clinic for a check-up, where the doctor confirmed the pregnancy and advised the mother to take the girl to a hospital for a medical examination and for a police report to be lodged.

The trio returned to the flat, where the accused admitted to his godmother that he had sex with his sister.

The victim's mother decided not to take the girl to the hospital as she was worried that her son would be arrested by the police.

Instead, the mother and the accused took the victim to a clinic in Johor Bahru for an abortion in December 2017, but the doctor would not perform the abortion.

SCHOOL FOUND OUT, REFERRED CASE TO CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES

The mother asked the girl to stop attending school, to avoid detection of her pregnancy.

When the school contacted the mother about the victim's absence, she said the girl was unwell and applied to withdraw her from school.

The secondary school declined and asked instead for a doctor's note. Eventually, the mother revealed that her daughter was pregnant, and the school principal informed Child Protection Services, which lodged a police report.

After his arrest, the accused was assessed by a consultant at the Institute of Mental Health and diagnosed with paedophilic disorder.

He pleaded guilty on Thursday to one charge of rape and another of molesting a minor.

Seven other charges including rape, sexual assault by penetration of a minor and outrage of modesty of a minor were taken into consideration for sentencing.

The prosecution asked for a sentence of at least 10 years and six months' jail and seven strokes of the cane, saying that the victim "became the target of the accused's sexual perversions" from a tender age of just five.

"There are simply no words that can adequately describe the egregiousness of sexual assault perpetrated by a family member," said the prosecutors. "This is made worse when the victim is a young and defenceless child."

SYSTEMIC SEXUAL ABUSE OF VICTIM: PROSECUTION

The accused carried out "systemic sexual abuse of the victim, escalating in degree and severity as she grew older", said the prosecution.

However, they noted that the accused, though now an adult at 22, committed the offences when he was below 21 years old and may still be considered a youthful offender in sentencing.

"The accused had flagrantly abused his position as the victim’s elder brother and betrayed the trust reposed in him by the victim," said the prosecutors. "Instead of caring for and protecting the victim who is significantly younger than he is, the accused saw the victim as an easy prey on whom he can readily relieve his sexual urges."

The prosecution added that the accused also "blatantly took advantage of his mother’s continued indulgence of his deviant conduct".

It noted that the sentence "may not repair the damage that has already been caused to the victim", but said a stiff sentence would be an appropriate signal from the court.

Defence lawyers Josephus Tan and Cory Wong of Invictus Law, who acted pro bono for the accused under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, differed in their requested sentence only by six months.

They asked for 10 years and seven strokes of the cane, with a shorter jail term for the molestation charge.

ACCUSED NOT THE FATHER OF THE CHILD: DEFENCE

The lawyers pointed out that the accused was not the father of the victim's child. Instead, another young man was the father. He is now facing police investigations and the foetus was later aborted.

Mr Tan said the accused was very remorseful for his actions, and that he was cooperative and forthcoming with the authorities, confessing to past offences even when there might be little evidence.

The defence counsel also noted the accused's "very tender age of 13 at the time of his molest charge".

He asked that the jail term be backdated, as the accused has been remanded for two years.

Mr Tan added that the family was a dysfunctional one belonging to "the lower social strata" and said the mother had only primary-school education and was living on welfare assistance.

"When the instances came to light, an ordinary person would have taken a harder approach, or would have reported to the relevant authorities or seek help. That wasn't the case here," he said.

However, Justice Chua Lee Ming dismissed the point about the social strata, saying there are "basic social norms".

He took issue with arguments from both prosecution and defence, questioning the prosecutors on why they had not placed the case in a more severe sentencing band, and asking the defence about their argument on the harm caused to the victim.

"A brother (is) supposed to be protecting his sister," said Justice Chua. "Instead, he abuses her sexually over a period of time to satisfy his own lust."

He gave a sentence that was slightly longer than either side had asked for, telling the accused: “I cannot ignore the fact that instead of protecting your younger sister, you abused her sexually over a period of time and the offences escalated."

For rape, the accused could have been jailed up to 20 years and fined or caned.

CNA has contacted the Attorney-General's Chambers on whether any action will be taken against the victim's mother.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)

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