A former security officer who sexually abused his six-year-old stepdaughter was jailed for eight years yesterday and ordered to be given 12 strokes of the cane.
The 38-year-old pleaded guilty to sexual penetration of a minor, committed in mid-2012.
Two other charges of using criminal force to outrage her modesty were taken into consideration.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Claire Poh said the accused and the victim's mother, aged 31, were married around May 2011. The victim was then about five years old and called the man "Daddy" or "Max".
The couple's relationship deteriorated and they divorced in September 2013. The accused, however, continued to live with the victim and her mother until around February last year. Investigations revealed that some time in the middle of 2012, the accused touched the victim's private parts and digitally penetrated her while playing with her in the living room. Her mother was asleep in the flat at the time.
Subsequently, he bought the child clothes and told her not to tell anyone about what had happened.
Some time in May last year, the mother took the victim to KK Women's and Children's Hospital as the child had some discharge from her private parts.
By then, the accused was no longer living with them.
The girl was diagnosed with chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease, but it is not conclusive whether she had contracted it from the accused.
"What is important is that he had, by his actions, callously exposed the victim to the risk of such diseases," said Ms Poh.
In her submissions on sentencing, she said this case involved a reprehensible offence towards a child.
As the victim's stepfather, the accused was in a position of trust and authority.
"Barely one year into his marriage with the victim's mother, the accused started to sexually exploit the victim for his own sexual gratification,'' she said.
She said the victim was extremely vulnerable, being barely six years old when she was violated. She had to endure a period of sexual abuse spanning two to three years.
Pleading for leniency, the accused said he had totally lost control of his actions at the time and would not commit any more offence.
He could have been jailed for up to 20 years, as well as fined, in addition to being caned.