SINGAPORE - Two men who sexually abused their stepdaughters in unrelated cases were sentenced to jail and caning after they pleaded guilty to their offences on Tuesday (Feb 11).
In the first case, a 39-year-old former security officer was jailed 12 years and ordered to be caned 13 strokes for sexually assaulting his stepdaughter when she was between nine and 11 years old.
Some time between May 2009 and December 2010, he had called her to the toilet while the girl's mother was not at home and her two younger stepsisters were watching television in the living room.
He instructed her to perform oral sex on him and took photos of the act using his phone.
On another occasion, the man called the girl to his room and made her perform a lewd act.
The victim, who regarded the man as her father, did as she was told, even though she did not understand the acts.
Some time before the victim entered Primary 6, her mother found one of the photos on the man's phone.
She confronted her husband, who apologised, deleted the photos and promised not to do it again.
The woman decided to keep the discovery a secret, for fear of damaging her family's reputation. The victim also agreed to keep mum about it.
The family secret was revealed nearly 10 years later, when the woman told a social worker about the abuse after giving birth to her third daughter with the accused.
On Tuesday, the man pleaded guilty to one charge each of aggravated sexual assault by penetration and aggravated outrage of modesty. Three other charges were taken into consideration.
The victim, now 20, was in court and spoke to her stepfather after he was sentenced.
In the second case, a 36-year-old man was sentenced to 13½ years' jail and 21 strokes of the cane for repeatedly sexually abusing his stepdaughter, then 11, over a period of two months.
In July and August 2018, the man was unemployed and began spending more time at home. He hung out with the girl in his room and sexually abused her on 13 occasions.
This started with him touching her inappropriately and escalated to more intrusive acts, including forcing her to perform oral sex on him.
The victim did not tell anyone about the abuse, as she did not want to cause disharmony in the family.
She resorted to acts of self-harm as a coping mechanism. Her abuse surfaced after her form teacher noticed the cuts on the girl's arms and referred her to a school counsellor.
The matter was referred to the Ministry of Social and Family Development and a police report was made.
On Tuesday, the man pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault by penetration and three counts of outrage of modesty. Another 12 charges were taken into consideration.