SINGAPORE — A man has been found guilty of molesting his five-to six-year-old daughter, some 13 years after the incident occurred.
The 61-year-old man was convicted on Thursday (6 January) of two charges of molesting a victim under the age of 14 in the 2009 incident. He had claimed trial to the charges but was deemed guilty by District Judge Toh Han Li, who said in his verdict that the victim’s evidence was “clear, credible and unusually convincing”.
None of the parties in the case can be named due to a gag order preventing the identification of the victim.
During the trial, the victim, now 18, testified that in 2009, her mother had gone to pick up her brother from school, leaving her father in the house with her.
The victim said that she had been called into a bedroom where her father was dressed only in a towel wrapped around his waist. He was seated and using his computer. He then asked her to sit on his right thigh.
She complied and her father grabbed her left hand to perform a sexual act. He then molested her skin on skin.
According to her testimony, the girl did not react as she did not want to disobey him, despite feeling uncomfortable. The man was looking back and forth between the screen and her while molesting her.
A while later, she obeyed her father’s instruction to get on the bed. Her father then took his towel off. The girl left the room, saying that she wanted to eat. Her father replied “okay” and told her to keep the incident from her mother.
Around a month later, the girl told her mother about what happened. Her mother told her to never let anyone touch her there ever again. She also said there was no point lodging a police report as there was no “hard, concrete evidence”.
The victim eventually grasped the gravity of what had happened to her when she was an upper primary school student, after watching a YouTube video of a girl who lodged a police report against her father over a similar offence.
However, the victim did not call the police as she did not know what to do. She eventually confided in two ex-boyfriends and a relative.
Eventually, the victim began having panic attacks in school, being triggered when there were many boys around. She was brought to her school counsellor after one of these panic attacks in 2018, and she confided in the counsellor.
She was later interviewed by Ministry of Social and Family Development officers who brought her to lodge a police report on 11 January 2018.
In his defence, the father testified that the girl had “misconstrued” the molest as she had simply fallen down and he had merely caught her from his lap.
He also argued that the girl was trying to get him into trouble nine years after the incident as she was upset over his condescending remarks on her dressing and manner, the fact that he was her custodian after his divorce with her mother, her ex-boyfriend, and a video that got her into trouble with school.
DJ Toh rejected the father’s account of catching the victim from a fall and any suggestion of motivation on the victim’s part to implicate her father.
He noted that the father was unable to give a more detailed account of how the victim came to fall off his lap.
A hearing for mitigation and sentencing will take place on 22 February.
The father faces a jail term of up to five years, or a fine, or caning, or any combination of the penalties, for molesting a person under 14.
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