SINGAPORE - A taxi driver who repeatedly molested his teenage stepdaughter, sometimes in the presence of other family members, was jailed for 11 months on Tuesday (Feb 27).
The 58-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the girl's identity, committed the offences in the family's Bedok North flat.
He first molested the girl, who was then 14 years old, in early 2012 and continued the assaults into 2013, the court heard during the 25-day trial.
The girl testified that she was sleeping in the living room beside her siblings when she felt someone stepping on her mattress. She later felt someone squeezing her buttocks over her clothes and saw her stepfather walking away when she opened her eyes.
He molested the girl again later that year. Her younger brother saw him committing the offence but the children's mother laughed it off when he told her what he had seen. The woman is still married to her daughter's molester.
The taxi driver outraged his stepdaughter's modesty for the third time in 2012 when she entered his bedroom to retrieve some clothes. She testified that when she walked past him, he grabbed her hand and she lost her balance.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jesintha Veijayaratnam told the court: "As she was on the floor, the accused used his other hand to grab her ankles. He then stroked her from her chest to her groin area."
In 2013, the man molested the girl as she was entering their flat with her siblings after a family outing.
Ms Jesintha told District Judge Crystal Ong on Feb 21 that the girl had very little contact with her biological father but she and her brother began meeting him in 2014 in a coffee shop near their flat.
On the third meeting, the girl told him that her stepfather had molested her on several occasions. The father took his two children to seek advice from the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware).
Aware advised them to alert the police and the girl lodged a report later that day.
She is now living with her maternal grandmother while her brother lives with his father.
The taxi driver, who was represented by lawyer Gino Hardial Singh, told the court that he did not touch his stepdaughter's buttocks in early 2012. He also testified that after the family trip in 2013, he had touched her buttock to get her to move out of the way.
Mr Singh asked for the sentence to be deferred as the man had to settle some personal matters. He was offered bail of $10,000. Judge Ong ordered him to surrender to the State Courts on March 13 to begin serving his jail term.
Offenders can be jailed for up to two years and fined or caned for each count of molestation. The taxi driver cannot be caned as he is over 50 years of age.