SINGAPORE — A man who lured his niece to a hotel and tricked her into taking off her clothes was jailed for 19 months on Tuesday (23 November).
The 51-year-old man told the girl, then 15, that there were doctored photos of her face edited onto nude bodies on a website. He offered to help her prove the pictures were doctored by photographing her in the nude.
Believing her uncle, the girl removed her clothing. The married man then took advantage of the girl as a form of "repayment".
The man had been found guilty of molesting the niece, now 18, after claiming trial over the incident, which occurred on 13 January 2018 at a hotel room in Village Hotel Changi. His jail term, imposed by District Judge Carol Ling, includes a three-month term in lieu of caning. He cannot be caned as he is above 50.
Both the victim and her uncle cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the girl’s identity.
During the trial, the victim said that she had initially thought of her uncle as a nice person whom she would see every few weeks at family gatherings.
'Important family matter'
The man told his niece that he had an "important family matter" to discuss with her and she agreed to meet him at 13 January 2018. She told her sister about the intended meet up.
The man initially kept the venue a secret and told the girl to take a bus to Changi after her tuition ended. They met at a bus-stop and he led her to Village Hotel Changi. The victim felt confused about having to be in a hotel room with her uncle, but sat down to eat the fried rice he packed for her.
After she ate, the man claimed that there were photographs of her face edited onto naked bodies on a website traced to Batam, without showing her the photos. He informed her that there were two options. These were to take the photos down from the website at a "very high cost" or to ruin her family's reputation.
The man showed her photographs of celebrities whose faces had been edited onto naked bodies.
Scared and confused, the girl said she wanted to make a police report. The man told her that this would damage her family's and father’s reputation.
He then claimed he could prove that the photos were edited but that he would need photos of the girl naked. The victim agreed, not knowing what else to do.
She removed her clothes and heard multiple shutter sounds coming from her uncle’s camera and saw a flash. However, she did not see what the man’s phone captured.
The girl then went under the blanket, at her uncle’s instruction. The man then climbed over her and molested her, saying that this was a way she could repay him.
After a while, the man stopped and told the victim to lie to her sister that she was staying at a mosque overnight. He asked her to stay the night at the hotel. The girl declined as her brother was alone at home.
They left the room and the man gave the girl cash to take a cab home. Feeling lost and confused, the girl did not report the incident to anyone. She felt “dirty” and deleted the phone messages between herself and her uncle, wanting to erase traces of the incident.
Two days after the incident, the victim did not go to school as she felt unsafe and afraid.
After she continued to be plagued by the incident, she lodged a police report.
In his defence, the man denied the offence and suggested that his niece had voluntarily removed her clothes. He alleged that she concocted the events to get her parents' attention, so that they would return from the United States.
For molest, he could have been jailed up to two years, and/or a fine.
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