Man jailed 12½ years for sexually abusing daughter

Abuse started when girl was in Primary 2 and stopped only when she was in Primary 6

A Primary 2 girl who asked her father for help with her homework was made to perform a sexual act on him instead.

From 2010 to 2013, the girl suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her father, who stopped only when she was in Primary 6.

She kept it a secret until she told her boyfriend, and then her mother, when she was in Secondary 3. But the family decided to let the matter rest.

It was nearly a year later, after the girl's mother complained about her daughter's boyfriend being a "bad influence", that he told a teacher about the sexual abuse that the girl had suffered at home.

Yesterday, the girl's 53-year-old father, a retail sales supervisor, was sentenced to 12½ years' jail by the High Court after he pleaded guilty to two charges of aggravated sexual assault by penetration and one charge of aggravated molestation. Five other similar charges were taken into consideration.

The man cannot be named to protect the victim's identity.

His sentence includes a one-year term in lieu of the 24 strokes of the cane that would have been imposed had he not been over the age of 50.

The court heard that the girl was the second of the man's three children with his wife, a 43-year-old sales promoter. The couple have an older daughter and a younger son. As his wife had to work the night shift, he was mainly responsible for looking after the children.

In 2010, the man began making his daughter perform oral sex on him and rubbing himself against her. The victim, unaware that the acts were wrong, did as she was told. She also obeyed his instructions not to tell anyone.

In 2016, she got into a relationship with her Secondary 2 classmate. She started confiding in him about the abuse the following year.

The boy advised her to tell her mother, but the victim was worried that it would break up her family. He also sent a text message to her mother, saying that the victim had something important to say.

The victim was initially reluctant but finally told her mother in mid-2017. Her mother then confronted the accused, who admitted what he had done and sought forgiveness from the victim.

During this time, the victim continued seeing the boy despite her parents' disapproval.

In March last year, her father got into a fight with the boyfriend when she returned home at about 3am. Later that week, at a parent-teacher meeting, her mother complained about her daughter staying out and blamed the boyfriend.

Later, when the teacher scolded the boy for being in the relationship, he revealed the sexual abuse.

The school alerted the Ministry of Social and Family Development and arranged for the victim to file a police report. The girl's father was arrested the same day.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu said the accused had persistently abused the trust that his daughter had in him.

The man's assigned lawyer, Mr Wendell Wong, said his client felt shame and remorse.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2019, with the headline 'Man jailed 12½ years for sexually abusing daughter'. Print Edition | Subscribe