SINGAPORE – A man molested the daughter of family friends in 2016 when she was nine years old, and then tried to molest the girl three years later by attempting to slip his hand into the back of her pants.
The girl, who is now 14 years old, did not realise what he did was wrong until she attended sex education class in 2018.
The offences came to light in 2019 when she confided in a friend after the man asked a lewd question about her younger sister, now 12. The victim had feared that the man would prey on the younger girl as well.
The offender, now 59, cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the victim’s identity.
On Tuesday (May 31), Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao urged Principal District Judge Victor Yeo to sentence the man to between 18 and 24 months in jail for molesting the girl.
Judge Yeo convicted the man in April to one count each of molestation and attempted molestation after a trial.
The prosecutor also asked for the offender to be given an additional six weeks’ jail in lieu of three strokes of the cane. This is because the man cannot be caned as he is over 50 years old.
For the attempted molestation charge, DPP Lee urged the court to sentence the man to a short jail term.
He said: “(The offender) took advantage of his position to abuse the victim when she was very young and exceptionally vulnerable, such that for the (molestation) charge, she was not even aware that he had violated her until she attended sex education class in school two years later.”
Defence lawyer Kalaithasan Karuppaya, however, asked for the man to be given a year’s jail in total, stressing that his client did not use force on the girl.
In his submissions, DPP Lee said that the offender and his wife were close friends of the victim’s parents, adding: “The accused has known the victim since she was around three years old and was especially close to her.”
He added that the offender would buy presents for the victim on her birthdays and when she did well for her examinations.
The victim had also felt closer to the man than she was to her own parents, said the DPP.