Employer's husband jailed for 14 months and 2 weeks for molesting maid, insulting her modesty

SINGAPORE - An employer was checking her domestic worker's belongings one evening when she chanced upon a note written by the maid, alleging that the former's husband had misconducted himself in the very house the maid was employed in.

In the note addressed to the couple's eldest son, the maid, then 23, stated that she was embarrassed to describe the "very shameful" conduct of Saffie Supa'at, her employer's husband, who had "bothered" her.

But she never gave the note to the son as she felt uncomfortable and did not want to "spoil the family", the court heard.

The employer threw away the notebook containing the note, and asked the maid to pack her belongings the next day, Jan 31, 2016, after a discussion with her husband.

The maid left the flat in Hougang on Feb 1 the same year. She headed to the vicinity of Hougang Primary School and subsequently met an Indonesian maid she had come to know, saying that she had been chased out.

That maid took her to see her friend, who accompanied her to make a police report.

The victim had been working for the couple, who have four children, since Dec 14, 2015. Three weeks into her employment, Saffie, 51, started to sexually abuse her.

Saffie was found guilty of six charges by District Judge John Ng last month after a four-day trial.

He was convicted of molesting the victim and insulting her modesty several times in January 2016.

He was jailed for 14 months and two weeks on Thursday (Nov 2).

The maid, now 24, had testified that initially, she found it good working for the couple, but three weeks later, the man started "bothering" her.

The first incident took place when she was drying plates in the kitchen when Saffie suddenly brushed her buttocks and smiled, saying "Why?"

Saffie admitted to the act but said it was accidental as the space in the kitchen was small.

He also exposed himself to the victim on two occasions. These offences were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Pressing for at least 16 months' jail, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy cited various aggravating factors. She said Saffie wasted no time in embarking on a campaign of sexual harassment against the victim very soon after she started work.

"The offences were clearly not a one-off spur-of-the-moment situation but involved sustained, persistent and premeditated sexual assaults on the victim. And if not for (Saffie's wife) finding the victim's note, it is very likely that the offending would have continued and perhaps even escalated," she said.

Saffie took advantage of the situation and committed the brazen offences when his wife was at work, the DPP said. She also said he lacked remorse, and that the defence had cast spurious aspersions on the victim by suggesting that she had formed romantic intentions towards his son, aged 24.

Saffie, represented by Mr Wilbur Lim, could have been jailed for up to three years and/or fined for each count of molestation; and jailed for up to 18 months and/or fined for each charge of insulting modesty.