SINGAPORE – Over many years, a 61-year-old man sporadically sexually abused his two nieces when they stayed over at his flat, but the two victims decided not to go to the police.
The older niece, who was molested in 2000, eventually made a police report in 2019 when she felt concerned about her daughter’s safety.
On Monday, the man was sentenced to 11 years and nine months’ jail by the High Court.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of molesting the older niece in 2000, when she was 15, and a charge of sexual assault by penetration committed against the younger niece in 2018, when she was 25. Three other similar charges were taken into consideration.
The man cannot be caned as he is over 50 years old, and the sentence includes a six-month term imposed in lieu of caning. He cannot be named owing to a gag order to protect the identities of the victims.
“The victims did not take action immediately, to preserve family relations,” said deputy public prosecutors Gail Wong and Jordon Li in sentencing submissions.
The prosecutors said the offences caused the older victim to harbour resentment towards her mother until 2017, when her mother died of cancer.
The victims’ mother and the accused’s wife were sisters.
The two families were close, and the children would have regular sleepovers at each other’s homes, especially at weekends and during school holidays.
On two occasions during the school holidays in June 2000, the man sneaked into his daughter’s room and molested the older niece.
The victim told her mother about the incidents.
A few days later, some of the family members confronted the accused, who apologised for his actions.
The victim decided not to make a police report at the time as she was worried that it might affect her mother, who was in poor health, and that her father would stop her and her sister from meeting their aunt and cousins.
By 2005, the victims and their family had moved into the block of flats next to the block the accused’s family lived in, to be near their cousins.
In October 2018, the younger victim went to the man’s flat after her aunt invited her over for some food.
Despite having been molested by the man before, she decided to have a nap in her cousin’s room as the man was not at home.
She later woke up to find the man, who was sitting at the edge of the bed, pulling his hand back after violating her.
A few days later, the two families had a meeting, where the man apologised for his behaviour. The family collectively decided that they would not make a police report.
The younger victim sought counselling after the sexual assault, and later left to work abroad.
In August 2019, the older victim, then 34, eventually made a police report after her domestic worker told her that she had spotted someone who looked like the accused near her home.