SINGAPORE - A former part-time cleaner who molested his teenage sister-in-law over three years was sentenced to 30 months' jail and six strokes of the cane on Friday (Jan 29).
The 40-year-old accused admitted to three of nine charges of molestation.
Two of the proceeded charges were committed in 2011 when she was 13; and the other in 2013 when she was 15.
The accused cannot be named due to a gag order.
Investigations showed that between 2010 and 2012, the accused committed various acts of sexual abuse against the girl. She told her mother about some of the incidents. Her mother confronted and told him to stop. He promised to do so, but went back to abusing her again and again. She suffered emotional trauma as a result.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Eunice Ng said shortly after the girl, then 12, and her mother had moved in with the accused and his family in 2010, he started to make sexual advances against the girl.
In December that year, he surreptitiously took a video of her while she was showering.
The abuse quickly escalated into acts of touching, said DPP Ng.
Sometime in March 2011, he called the victim and grabbed her by her shoulders and kissed her on her lips. She pushed him away. Undeterred, he tried to pull her into the bathroom but she managed to break free from his grasp.
In May or June that year, the girl was asleep when he lifted her shirt and bra and molested her.
In 2012, the girl and her mother moved out from the rental flat into a two-room flat. Shortly after, the accused and his family moved in with them.
On July l2, 2013, he molested her while she was asleep. She woke up and found him sitting beside her.
She then pulled her blanket up to cover her body and hugged her pillow to her chest. She dared not fall asleep after that.
After he had walked away to the bathroom, she sent text messages to her school counsellor and form teacher, asking if she could still go to school despite being late.
When he came out, she immediately went into the bathroom, changed and went to school. She made a police report that day.
District Judge Wong Li Tein agreed with the prosecution that the accused's behaviour was deplorable. She said he became emboldened as he knew that the girl and her mother would not report the matter to the police.
She cited many aggravating factors in this case, such as the accused's abuse of position of authority and trust, and that he took advantage of the fact that the girl's mother was ineffective in protecting her.
"The public must be assured that the Court takes sexual abuse against vulnerable victims very seriously and will not tolerate such reprehensible behaviour,'' she said.
The accused could have been jailed for up to five years, fined, caned or received any combined punishment for each of the first two charges.
The accused's pro bono lawyer Kenneth Au Yong said the accused, who has three young daughters and is supporting two other children from his previous marriage, has been diagnosed with major stress disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. He said his client has had an extremely traumatic and painful childhood, and was raped by a neighbour when he was seven.