Jail, caning for abusing daughter

From age of 10 to 14, girl was sexually violated by her divorced father during weekend visits

A divorced 46-year-old man who sexually abused his biological daughter when she went over to his place on weekends was yesterday jailed 19 years and ordered to be caned the maximum 24 strokes.

The bus driver, who had been granted weekend access to his two daughters after his divorce from their mother, started abusing the younger girl when she was 10.

He continued to sexually exploit her until she was 14. On some occasions, he would tell her that he missed and loved her.

The abuse came to light when the girl was 14 after the victim's teacher asked why she was skipping school and going home late.

Yesterday, the man pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault, one charge of aggravated molestation and two charges of molestation. Six other similar charges were taken into consideration. He is not named to protect the identity of the victim, who is now 17.

In sentencing, High Court judge Woo Bih Li agreed with prosecutors that the man's actions were "heinous". Justice Woo said that any sexual assault is to be "condemned in the strongest terms" and in this case, the offences are aggravated by the fact that the victim was the man's young biological daughter.

"She trusted you. You were supposed to protect her. Instead, you violated her," said the judge.

The court heard that the man and his former wife divorced when the victim was two years old.

The girls lived with their mother but, as a result of custody arrangements, spent time with their father at his home every Saturday.

On one such Saturday afternoon visit in 2007, while the girl was sleeping, the accused entered the room, lay next to her and sexually violated the 10-year-old.

This was the start of a series of sexual abuse which has left the girl "sad and disgusted" with her father's actions, the court heard.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Allison Phua sought a deterrent jail term of 18 to 20 years, noting that the man had exploited his position of authority over the vulnerable victim. By telling the girl how much he loved and missed her while abusing her, he was causing her to feel emotionally disturbed and helpless, she said.

The man's lawyer, Mr Kertar Singh, said 12 to 14 years was sufficient. He argued that his client was not a serial rapist and is unlikely to repeat the offences.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2015, with the headline 'Jail, caning for abusing daughter'. Print Edition | Subscribe