Stepfather jailed after sexually-abused girl gets help

A 16-year-old girl who was sexually abused by her stepfather for two years sought help from a local law firm out of desperation, after other attempts to stop the assaults proved futile.

The stepfather was undeterred even after the girl locked her bedroom door and her older brother tried to prevent the assaults.

After the girl submitted two messages to the firm’s website saying that she was afraid to go to the police but was terrified and contemplating suicide, the director of the firm lodged a police report on her behalf.

On Feb 19, the 37-year-old stepfather was sentenced to 14 years’ jail and 20 strokes of the cane by the High Court. He pleaded guilty to one charge each of aggravated sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by penetration.

Another nine charges, for acts of abuse carried out between 2019 and 2021, were taken into consideration during sentencing.

In sentencing the man for his “horrendous” crimes, which started when the girl was 11 or 12, High Court Judge Aedit Abdullah said the man had abused his position to exploit and assault the powerless and helpless victim.

“Human decency and basic propriety did not stop you,” he told the man.

Justice Abdullah also commended the actions of the lawyers and staff of the law firm, which did not wish to be identified.“It is fortunate that those approached by the victim did more and took steps to bring the matter to the attention of the police,” he said.

The stepfather moved in with the girl’s family after he married her mother in July 2019 and shared the master bedroom with the victim’s mother.

The girl had her own room and her two brothers occupied another room.

In late 2019, the man started performing sexual acts on the victim. Initially, she thought this was normal fatherly behaviour, until she realised that he did not touch her brothers in the same manner.She told her mother about the inappropriate touching and her mother told the man to stop. After stopping for about a week, the man resumed his actions.

On Dec 11, 2021, and Dec 17, 2021, the girl made submissions to the law firm’s website, saying that she was sexually assaulted by her stepfather.

The man was arrested on Dec 18, 2021, the same day the police report was lodged. — The Straits Times/ANN

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