Young girl sitting alone in the dark. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
SINGAPORE – A man who tried to force a sexual act on his seven-year-old stepdaughter was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison and twelve strokes of the stick on Wednesday (April 21).
The girl, now 16, had only noticed five years later, when she attended sex education at the age of 12, that what her “dad” had done was wrong.
The man pleaded guilty to attempting to penetrate the girl’s mouth in 2012. Both the victim and the perpetrator cannot be named in order to protect the girl’s identity.
In 2012, the man, the victim’s mother, the victim and her sister lived in one apartment.
The victim was very close to the man she called “Papa”. One day when she was alone in the apartment with the man in 2012, she heard the man call her. The girl was seven years old at the time.
She went into the kitchen and saw that the man was naked.
The man asked the girl to follow him into the kitchen toilet and she followed. Then he asked her to have oral sex with her, but the girl did not understand him and did not answer.
The man then tried to force himself on the girl, but failed when he pressed the back of the girl’s head toward him.
A few seconds later, the victim’s mother returned home, knocked on the front door and asked to be opened. The man instructed the girl to open the door and she did it.
The girl only realized what her stepfather had done to her was wrong when she learned sex education in school at the age of 12. She told her mother about the incident in an argument with her in July 2019.
The victim filed a police report on September 2, 2019.
When confronted by his wife, the man maintained his innocence. He denied the crime to the police, claiming the victim had a motive for lying about her in the police report because she allegedly held a grudge against him for disciplining her.
He only admitted the crime after facing further evidence.
The story goes on
Assistant Attorney Kenneth Kee requested eight years and six months imprisonment with twelve strokes of the stick.
He cited the girl’s young age, her close relationship with the man, and the man’s attempt to blame victims as aggravating factors.
“When the defendant revealed the close family relationship and the trust that his then seven-year-old stepdaughter had in him, he was thwarted solely because of the accidental and unexpected return of her mother to her apartment,” the prosecutor said.
The man who was not represented asked for forbearance and “the easiest sentence possible” and said his parents were “continuously ill.”
District Judge Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz described the abuse of trust in this case as “serious”.
She said to the man, “The victim had the right to expect that you, as her stepfather, a man she was very close to and who was addressed as ‘Papa’, would protect her from harm instead of inflicting him.”
Although the girl obviously did not understand the nature of the act, she remained “engraved in the niches of her mind,” noted the judge.
For the sexual penetration of a child under the age of 14, the man between the ages of eight and 20 could have been imprisoned with at least 12 strokes.
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