SINGAPORE - A Malaysian man who molested his girlfriend's two daughters while their mother and other siblings were asleep in the same room was sentenced to six years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane on Monday (May 14).
The 29-year-old man molested the eight-year-old girl once and the 13-year-old six times between April 17 and May 8 last year.
The court heard that the two half-sisters, who treated the man as their stepfather, have different biological fathers. The girls' mother has custody of them.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Michael Quilindo said the mother met the man in 2014, and the unmarried couple had a daughter together the following year.
The man cannot be named due to a gag order to protect his victims' identities.
He began living with his girlfriend, her father and her children - including two sons - last year. The girlfriend's father slept in a bedroom while the rest slept in the living room.
The court heard that on one occasion, the accused touched the eight-year-old's private parts as she slept, stopping when she stirred. He did the same to the older girl under similar circumstances.
DPP Quilindo told District Judge Kessler Soh: "During investigations, the accused admitted that he would only sexually touch the victims when it was dark at night and everyone was sleeping. When asked why he had performed such acts against them, he said, 'It was an urge, I guess. I can't control my sexual urge'."
An Institute of Mental Health report said the man had paedophilic tendencies which appeared to have remained dormant until the offences occurred.
DPP Quilindo said: "Although the accused claimed that the offending behaviour was opportunistic in nature and blamed the victims' mother for forcing him to sleep next to the victims, it would appear that he made no attempt to remove himself from the situation, nor insisted that the girls not sleep next to him."
The cases came to light when the eight-year-old girl's child protection officer from the Ministry of Social and Family Development made a police report on May 19 last year.
Court documents did not reveal details of how the officer found out about the girl's plight.
The offences involving the older girl were revealed during investigations.
On May 7 this year, the man pleaded guilty to three counts of molestation involving both girls. Four other outrage of modesty charges involving his older victim were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Before handing out the sentence, District Judge Kessler Soh said that the man had committed grave acts of outrage of modesty against two young victims.
The judge added that the law must act against such abusers, stressing that the Malaysian had abused the girls’ trust.