Man jailed 7½ years for sexually abusing stepdaughter

A man first sexually abused his stepdaughter when she was 12, telling her not to reveal it to anyone.

The abuse escalated over the next seven years, and included him forcing her to give him oral sex.

The incidents happened when he was alone with her at home, and other family members were either asleep or not in.

In 2014, she told her family members of the abuse, after he hit her when she refused to do as he wanted.

For his actions, the man, now 45, was on Monday (Sept 10) jailed for 7½ years, on one charge of sexually exploiting a child, one charge of sexually penetrating a minor and one charge of voluntarily causing hurt.

The man cannot be named under a gag order to protect the victim's identity.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sruthi Boppana told the court that the man married into the family when the girl was about three years old, and was the only father figure in her life.

The abuse started when she reached puberty in her upper primary years, and continued through her secondary school and polytechnic years.

In 2006, when the girl was about 12 and alone at home with the man, he approached her and caressed her.

When she was 15, he forced her to give him oral sex. She complied as she feared him and had been previously unsuccessful at resisting his advances.

She began working full time in August 2014. A month later, as she returned home one evening, she found him waiting for her at the void deck of their HDB block.

He had been drinking beer at a coffee shop nearby. He took her to an open area near the lift lobby and asked her to perform oral sex on him.

When she refused, he hit and kicked her. He also used his shoe to hit her, stopping only when she apologised.

She returned to the flat and her mother and brother noticed she was in tears. She informed them that her stepfather had hit her, so they called the police.

She later informed her brother, grandparents and aunt of the ongoing sexual abuse, and she made a police report at Toa Payoh Neighbourhood Police Centre.

During sentencing, District Judge Kenneth Yap said that while the man cited stress as one reason for his actions, it was no excuse as there are many fathers under similar pressures who do not take it out on their family members like that.

He said the man had exploited family trust of the highest order.

In subjecting his stepdaughter from a young age to his "perverse whims and desires", he robbed her of her innocence and left emotional scars, said the judge.

Court documents showed that during counselling sessions, the victim exhibited symptoms of emotional trauma such as disassociation, lack of sleep, recurring memories and fear of meeting her abuser.

Correction note: In an earlier version of the article, we said that District Judge Marvin Bay did the sentencing. It was in fact District Judge Kenneth Yap. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2018, with the headline 'Man jailed 71/2 years for sexually abusing stepdaughter'. Print Edition | Subscribe