For seven years, a man subjected his elder daughter to sexual abuse under the pretext of giving her a massage, beginning from when she was only seven years old.
He committed the acts while his wife was away from their home and his younger daughter was just outside the master bedroom.
The 48-year-old man was sentenced to 28 years’ jail and the maximum 24 strokes of the cane on Thursday (20 August) after he pleaded guilty to three charges of raping a girl under 14. The remaining three counts of digitally penetrating her and one count of showing her pornography when she was between seven and eight years old were taken into consideration for sentencing.
The sexual abuse ended after the victim, now 16, confided in her mother on 23 December 2017. The woman took her to lodge a police report the next day.
The woman was present at her husband’s hearing, which was held through a video conference on Friday. Atticus Xu, the lawyer who represented the man, told the court that the wife had been following the court case closely and was in a “very conflicted situation” as the involved parties are her husband and daughter.
In his mitigation plea, Xu said that the woman and victim had forgiven the man. However, the prosecution, led by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Jane Lim, said that this should not be considered for any discount in the man’s sentence.
All the parties involved cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity.
The abuse began at the family’s flat between 2010 and 2011, when the victim was between seven and eight years old. Her mother had gone out, leaving the victim and her sister – who is four years younger – with their father.
While the younger girl was in the living room, the man and his elder daughter went to the master bedroom. The man told his daughter that he wanted to massage her and asked her to close and lock the door. He instructed the girl to strip and removed his shorts.
He then molested the girl before applying olive oil to both their private parts. The girl complied with his instructions, fearing that she would displease him otherwise. She did not understand the nature of sexual acts. The man sexually assaulted his daughter before raping her. The girl felt pain after the incident, and her father told her not to reveal what had happened.
The incident had occurred after the man showed his daughter pornographic videos of adults having sex.
On another two occasions, the man repeated his acts while in the master bedroom with his daughter. Once, he asked her to follow him to the master bedroom under the pretext of “massaging” her. The younger sister would either be in another room while the mother would be out working.
The victim only began to understand the man’s misdeeds when she was about nine years old. She had complied with her father’s demands as she loved him.
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The two shared a “good relationship” as the man treated his daughter nicely and did not scold her often, said DPP Lim. She kept mum about his actions as she feared breaking up her family and getting her father into trouble.
Seeking 30 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane, the prosecution said that the man had robbed his daughter of her childhood and innocence, with no qualms about abusing the absolute trust placed in him to fulfil his perverse desires.
The man took advantage of his good relationship with and access to his daughter, violating the sanctity of the family home, where the girl had every right to feel safe, added DPP Lim.
There was also an element of sexual grooming, with the man exposing his daughter to pornography at an early age and desensitising her to sexual acts. The prosecution named the girl’s exceptionally young age as an aggravating factor.
In contrast, Xu asked for a jail term of 26 years with 24 strokes of the cane. He suggested that his client had been injured during his national service days and might not be fit for caning. However, DPP Lim said that there were no medical reports supporting the man’s claims of a spinal injury. The matter will be left to the prisons to determine.
Mitigating for his client, Xu said that he had not used force or threat on the victim and that she had not suffered from a lasting illness or pregnancy.