18 years' jail, caning for man who sexually abused two young brothers
In sentencing, Justice Chionh said the man had preyed on a vulnerable victim who was unlikely to raise complaints and added that the man had abused his position as a quasi-parental figure to the victim.
A jobless man who housed two young brothers and their mother at his flat, but sexually abused the boys during their two-month stay, was sentenced to 18 years in jail and 24 strokes of the cane yesterday.
The man, who was the godfather of the two boys, had pleaded guilty last month to two charges of sexual assault by penetration for acts he committed between October and December 2019 on the older boy, who was 12 at the time.
In sentencing, High Court judge Mavis Chionh said the man had preyed on a vulnerable victim who was unlikely to raise complaints.
The older boy had a quiet personality and was described as being "slow", she noted.
Justice Chionh added that the man had abused his position as a quasi-parental figure to the victim.
"Instead of providing the victim with a home in which he could find comfort and security, the accused cynically abused the relationship of responsibility and trust he had with the victim. He exploited his access to the victim for the reprehensible purpose of satisfying his own sexual urges," she said.
The judge took into account three other charges - one for sexually assaulting the older boy, one for molesting the younger boy and one unrelated charge for causing hurt to a bus driver.
The man cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the identities of the boys.
The court earlier heard that in 2019, the boys and their mother were evicted from their home due to a family dispute. The boys' father had abandoned the family about 10 years ago.
The trio stayed at a shelter while their rental flat application was pending, but the accused and his wife offered to take them in at their one-room flat.
At the time, the boys were under a safety plan by a social service agency due to their mother's lack of adequate parenting skills.
The mother raised the offer to care workers, who allowed the stay at the man's flat. Later, the boys' grandfather also stayed there.
The man, whom the boys called "Papa", played video games with them, signed their school consent forms and was often left to care for them when the other adults were not around.
He tried unsuccessfully to have the boys withdrawn from their school's aftercare programme so that he could spend more time with them.
During the stay, the man sodomised the older boy while the rest of the family were asleep.
The court heard that the older boy slept on the same mattress as the man and his wife, while the younger boy slept on another mattress with his mother and grandfather.
The man also sodomised the older boy while they were showering together.
The older boy learnt that his brother had also been molested by the man after the younger boy asked him if anything had happened to him.
Initially, the two boys did not tell anyone about it as they were worried about being homeless.
It was only after they had moved to their own rental flat in January last year that they told their mother about the sexual abuse.
The matter was then reported to the police.
The boys are currently under the care of the Ministry of Social and Family Development. The older boy has since undergone eight psychotherapy counselling sessions for the trauma he suffered.
Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.