Molester targeted lover's daughter

A man was sentenced to 15 months' jail and three strokes of the cane for molesting teen under guise of 'spiritual cleansing'.
A man was sentenced to 15 months' jail and three strokes of the cane for molesting teen under guise of 'spiritual cleansing'.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

Jail and caning for man who fondled teen under guise of 'spiritual cleansing'

A MAN told his girlfriend that he would perform "spiritual cleansing" on her teen daughter, but he did not say it would involve fondling the girl's breast and touching her genitals.

That took place in October last year, and the man, 31, was sentenced to 15 months' jail and three strokes of the cane yesterday.

The 15-year-old victim was a student at the time and had considered the accused to be her stepfather even though he is not married to her mother.

He had moved into a flat in Bukit Merah with the victim and her mother on Oct 16.

On the night that they moved in, the accused discussed "spiritual cleansing" with the victim's mother.

He said this would involve massaging the teenager's body. The mother agreed to the purported cleansing. Neither the victim nor her mother agreed to the accused touching the victim's private parts.

The three of them went to sleep together that night in the living room of the one-room HDB unit, with the victim lying in the middle.

At about 3am, the teenager awoke to discover that the accused had slipped his hand underneath her T-shirt and was touching her stomach.

Shocked and unsure what to do, she kept quiet and pretended to be asleep.

The accused slowly moved his hand to touch her left breast for about three minutes before getting up to talk to her mother. After speaking with the mother for some time, he returned to lie down next to the victim, who continued to feign sleep.

The accused then put his hand inside the girl's shorts and touched her genitals. Upon feeling some pain, she got up and walked away to sit on the sofa. She remained awake, using her cellphone until dawn, then left for school.

Later that day, she told her aunt about the molestation and filed a police report, in which she referred to the accused as her stepfather.

In court yesterday, he admitted to two charges of criminal use of force with the knowledge that he would outrage the girl's modesty.

Deputy Public Prosecutor James Chew noted that the man had previously been convicted for an unrelated charge of underage sex.

He further argued that the man had abused the girl's trust as her surrogate father figure, and that he had stopped just short of committing the more serious sexual penetration of a minor.

For each individual charge, the man could have been jailed for up to two years, caned, and fined, or given any combination of the three punishments.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2015, with the headline 'Molester targeted lover's daughter'. Print Edition | Subscribe