Singapore

Man detained, caned for sexually assaulting girl who called him 'papa'

He told her to call him "papa", picked her up from school and gave her pocket money.

But when the 13-year-old was alone with him in his home, he sexually assaulted her after massaging her legs.

On another occasion, he undressed her and tried to molest her, even as her friend lay sound asleep next to her.

The 48-year-old divorced father of two was yesterday sentenced to eight years' preventive detention and six strokes of the cane.

The jobless man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault, a molestation charge and a charge of intentionally perverting the course of justice.

Court documents showed the man first met the student in the first half of 2017 while she was hanging out with friends.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao said: "Eventually, the victim became closer to the accused and regarded him as her godfather because he treated her like a daughter."

She also regarded his home as a "safe haven" to hang out in.

Some time between August and September 2017, she went to the man's flat with a friend. The man's son was there as well.

After her friend and his son left the home, the man massaged her legs and went on to undress her.

When she told him she was uncomfortable, he told her to "relax" and then sexually assaulted her.

"When he did so, the victim felt great discomfort and told him to stop. The accused complied," said DPP Lee.

Some time between December 2017 and January 2018, the man attempted to molest the girl while she was sleeping in his flat with a friend.

She woke up to find her pants and underwear down to her knees and quickly pulled them up and got out of bed.

Her mother eventually found out what happened and made a police report.

When the girl informed the man about the report, he went into hiding.

He later messaged her via Instagram to ask her what she had told the police and scolded her for betraying him.

The court heard yesterday that the accused had previously been imprisoned for rape.

He told the court he was remorseful for causing harm to the victim.

"I sincerely plead with your honour and the DPP to trust me one more time, to give me one more chance," he said.

District Judge Carol Ling said it was expedient for the protection of the public that the accused should be detained for a "substantial period of time".

For sexual penetration of a minor, he could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.

COURT & CRIME