'Father figure' raped girl who had already endured sexual abuse by stepdad

Christine Tan
The Straits Times
Sept 28, 2023

Before she was 14, a girl had been sexually abused by two men who were supposed to protect her as her “father figures”.

One of them, 44, pleaded guilty on Thursday in a district court to one count of raping the girl in 2020.

The prosecution said he was the victim’s third father figure and she had trusted him. At the time of the offence, he was 41 while the girl was only 13.

The accused cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity.

Sentencing the man to 10 years’ jail and 10 strokes of the cane, District Judge Hairul Hakkim Kuthibutheen called his conduct “abhorrent and despicable”.

He noted that the young victim had already endured sexual abuse by her stepfather – her second father figure – for almost three years from 2017 to 2020.

“Despite knowing the victim’s specific past, the accused persisted to take advantage of her vulnerability,” said Judge Hairul, adding that this was an aggravating factor in sentencing.

Her stepfather was sentenced to 18 years’ jail with 24 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty in June this year to one count of rape and a sexual assault charge, according to court documents.

But caning was not imposed on the stepfather as he had just turned 50.

The court heard on Thursday that the accused got to know the victim and her mother in early 2020, when they moved to another flat. The victim’s biological father had ceased contact with her around 2016 to 2017.

The accused, who was their neighbour, subsequently started a romantic relationship with the victim’s mother. He eventually moved into their flat.

In June 2020, he performed a sexual act on the victim in the master bedroom of the flat while her mother was asleep in the room.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Yohanes Ng said the victim was shocked but allowed the act.

This was the start of sexual activities between the two, which lasted till October 2021. The victim consented to the sexual acts but felt disgusted by them, said DPP Ng.

On July 18, 2020, the man raped the girl while her mother was on an outing with his sons.

They were watching a movie in the living room when he initiated sexual contact by touching and kissing her.

DPP Ng said she reluctantly reciprocated “because she thought he gave her what she had called a death stare, which was namely a threatening look”.

“She knew, from her experience with (the stepfather), that the accused wanted to have sex with her,” he added.

The accused’s acts came to light only on Oct 4, 2021, when the victim’s mother found him and the girl in an intimate position.

After the man confessed to having had a sexual relationship with the victim, her mother made a police report the next day.

As a result of the two men’s sexual abuse, the girl felt disgusted and angry. She was also suicidal and harmed herself when she felt stressed by what they had done to her, said DPP Ng.

DPP Ng, along with DPPs Marcus Foo and Goh Qi Shuen, said in their sentencing submissions that the accused should be jailed for 10 years with six strokes of the cane.

In mitigation, Mr Joshua Phang of TSMP Law said his client had pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity and had cooperated with investigations.

Judge Hairul said he was not inclined to give the maximum discount that comes with a plea of guilt as the accused had “literally been caught red-handed with his pants down”.

Describing the man as a father figure to the girl, the judge added: “He was entrusted by the victim’s mother to look after the victim, to protect her from unwarranted advances.

“Yet, he was the one who took advantage of the opportunities he was given to be alone with the victim. He left the victim painfully and permanently scarred from his advances.”

The Straits Times

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