SINGAPORE — A girl who was previously sexually abused by a family member was wary of her mother’s new boyfriend when she first met the 29-year-old man.
Over time however, the man became a father figure to the girl, whose biological father was in prison.
The man showered the girl with affection and gifts, including caring for her when she fell ill and guiding her in her homework.
Three years into the father-daughter bond, the relationship turned sexual. The unemployed man began having sex with the then 14-year-old girl when her mother was at work, impregnating her.
A police report was lodged only last year when the girl was sent to the hospital for severe stomach pain, which turned out to be labour contractions.
The man pleaded guilty on Tuesday (5 October) to three out of 19 counts of sexually penetrating a minor under 16 while in a relationship that was exploitative of the girl. His sentencing was adjourned to 29 November, after the prosecution requested more time to put in submissions for what it said was the first case of its kind to proceed under the amended penal code.
All parties in the case cannot be named due to a gag order protecting the minor’s identity.
Earning the victim's trust
The man, then aged 26, first met the victim’s mother, who is in her 30s, in 2015. They began dating a month later, and the woman introduced her new boyfriend to the victim, then aged around 11 years old.
In 2016, the man moved in with mother and daughter. For about a-year-and-a-half after they were first introduced, the man and the victim were not close. As the girl was previously sexually abused by a family member, she avoided the man as she was affected by her ordeal.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaime Pang said, “Eventually, the accused earned the victim’s trust by assuming the role of a father figure in her life. The accused would shower (her) with affection through gestures like spending relatively large sums of money to celebrate her birthday and taking her out to enjoy her favourite activities like ice skating.”
When they shared a home, the man also took charge of the upkeep of the home, doing most of the cooking and cleaning. He also cared for the girl when she fell sick, or guided her in her homework.
The two grew closer, with the girl referring to the man as “daddy”.
DPP Pang added, “The way the accused treated (the girl) made her feel secure, and he provided her with the love and affection that she yearned for but was unable to get from her biological father, who was incarcerated at the material time.”
Relationship turned sexual
Between October and December 2018, when the girl was 14, the relationship turned sexual. The two had unprotected sex regularly when alone in the flat. As the man became unemployed from March 2018, the girl’s mother became the sole breadwinner and she would usually be out for work.
The two continued to engage in sexual acts after the girl became pregnant, and even after she gave birth on 15 May last year – up till June 2020.
At about 11.30am on 15 May last year, the National University Hospital alerted the police to a case of teenage pregnancy after the girl was admitted for severe stomach pain which turned out to be labour contractions. The girl gave birth to a baby girl that day.
During investigations, the girl identified the man as the father of her child. He was arrested on 6 July last year while at the flat they shared. A blood test also confirmed his paternity.
The girl was assessed by a psychiatrist and was noted to feel sad about missing out on her dream of graduating with a friend last year. She also has passive suicidal wishes due to the repeated sexual abuse. She also worries that her daughter might hate her after finding out about the illegitimate birth.
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