11½ years' jail for man who sexually abused underaged stepdaughter and sister-in-law

SINGAPORE - A 50-year-old man who sexually abused two underaged relatives, telling them he was touching them for "family love", was sentenced to 11 ½ years' jail on Monday (Aug 22).

The High Court heard that the man began sexually abusing his stepdaughter when she was eight years old and his sister-in-law - his wife's stepsister - when she was nine.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated sexual assault by penetration and two charges of outraging the modesty of a person under the age of 14.

Nine other similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

The man cannot be named owing to a gag order to protect the victims' identities.

The sexual abuse began in 2014, when the man lived in a three-room flat with his 34-year-old wife and her daughter from an earlier marriage.

His sister-in-law lived one floor above with her parents and would often visit the accused's flat after school to play video games and watch TV with his stepdaughter.

On those visits when the unemployed man was the only adult in the flat, he would sit very close to his sister-in-law and touch her waist and thigh.

Over time, his actions became more intrusive.

On multiple occasions, he slid his hand under her clothes and sexually violated her, telling her that he had touched her for medicinal purposes and family love.

The abuse only stopped after a new tenant moved in.

Around the same time, the man also touched his stepdaughter on numerous occasions while she was playing games or watching videos on her phone.

He also assured her that this was part of "family love" and instructed her not to tell anyone about what he had done.

In 2015, almost on a daily basis, he would slide his hand into the girl's underwear to touch her, while she remained silent.

The abuse stopped when mother and daughter moved out after the couple decided to get a divorce.

In 2018, the sister-in-law realised that what the man had done to her was wrong after she learnt about inappropriate behaviour from a sexual education class in school.

She cried for two hours in school but did not tell her family about the abuse.

It was only in February last year (2021), when she had an argument with her father, that she revealed that the man had touched her inappropriately.

Her father took her to make a police report, and investigations led to the discovery that the other girl had also been abused.

After his arrest, the man was diagnosed to be a paedophile.

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