SINGAPORE - A 50-year-old site supervisor was found guilty of seven charges of sexually abusing his step-daughter when she was aged between 11 and 15 years old.
District Judge Lee-Khoo Poh Choo sentenced him to 15 months' jail for each charge. The jail terms for the first three charges are to run consecutively for a total of 45 months.
The offences were committed between September 2005 and March 2010 at the family's Bukit Batok flat.
He first got to know the California-born girl in 1999 when she was five years old. He was introduced to her unwed mother the preceding year in Singapore.
The man, a Malaysian and a permanent resident here, married the girl's mother in 2002 and moved in to her flat. The couple have two daughters from the marriage.
In her evidence, the victim, now aged 22, said she did not inform anyone initially of the sexual abuse until March 29, 2010, when she disclosed the matter to the school counsellor.
She wanted to protect her younger sisters and did not want her stepfather to abuse them too.
But she was reluctant to make a police report until she was convinced by the school principal because she did not want her stepfather to go to jail.
The defence argued the victim had fabricated the allegations because she was angry with her stepfather who had punished her for the high phone bill in September 2009.
The judge, in decision grounds issued on Wednesday (Nov 23), found the victim to be forthright, credible and consistent having observed her over six days of testimony and having heard the evidence of several persons who interacted with her, including doctors, counsellors and her mother.
The stepfather is currently on bail pending his appeal against the conviction and sentence.