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The Straits Times
Feb 16, 2023
A recalcitrant molester targeted his stepdaughter just 10 months after he was released from jail for similar offences involving the girl, resulting in the 14-year-old suffering a nervous breakdown.
On Thursday, the 32-year-old was sentenced to three years’ jail and eight strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to two molestation charges.
The man cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the girl’s identity.
He was earlier convicted of offences including outraging the girl’s modesty, and sentenced to two years and two months’ jail with three strokes of the cane. He was released on Aug 17, 2020.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kee En said: “Due to the accused’s previous offences against the victim, she could not live with her mother in the family home after the accused was released. Instead... the victim was living with her maternal uncle and her aunt.”
Efforts were later made to reintegrate the family following the man’s release in 2020.
Around May 2021, he was allowed to interact with the victim at her aunt’s home in the presence of her mother and uncle. The family, including the offender and the girl, had also gone on staycations.
As things appeared fine, the victim and her mother assumed that nothing untoward would happen again. But this changed when the mother took the girl back to the family home.
The girl and her stepfather were playing a game in the living room at around 1am on June 30, 2021, when he molested her.
DPP Chong said: “The rest of the family had gone to sleep. The victim’s mother was asleep in her room with a baby and the victim’s step-siblings were also asleep in their room.
“The victim froze when the accused began to touch her, as she did not know how to react.”
The man stopped touching the girl when he noticed that she appeared uncomfortable. He also apologised and told her not to tell anyone as he did not want to go back to jail.
The girl did not respond to him and fell asleep soon after. She woke up when he took her hand and placed it on his private parts. She pretended to remain asleep as she was afraid.
She returned to her aunt’s home that afternoon and told her what had happened.
The girl made a police report after alerting her child protection officer on July 1, 2021. The police then arrested the offender.
DPP Chong said: “Immediately after the lodging of the report, the victim had a nervous breakdown. She ran away from her aunt’s place.
“As a result, her maternal uncle and aunt did not wish to continue caring for her. The victim has been shifted from other relatives to care homes.”
The Child Guidance Clinic of the Institute of Mental Health saw the girl on Jan 4, 2022, and found that she was suffering from nightmares and flashbacks.