In a distressing case that highlights the devastating consequences of early exposure to explicit material, a 25-year-old man was sentenced to 15-and-a-half years in prison and 12 strokes of the cane by the High Court on Monday (Jun 26).
According to Channel News Asia, the man, whose identity remains protected due to a gag order, pleaded guilty to charges of sexual penetration of a minor under 16 and aggravated statutory rape.
Additionally, 11 other charges related to sexual offenses against his sisters were taken into consideration. The elder victim, now 24, and the younger victim, 19, have endured years of trauma at the hands of their own brother.
Content Warning for Minors: Disturbing Subject Matter
This article contains sensitive information regarding sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised, especially for minors. The content involves a distressing case of sexual offenses within a family. It discusses explicit details that may be emotionally challenging or inappropriate for young readers.
The majority of the offenses took place between 2010 and 2014, during which time the three siblings resided with their divorced mother in a two-room housing board flat.
During that period, the accused, aged between 12 and 16, exposed to pornography since the age of 10, regularly targeted his sisters while they slept on mattresses placed in the living room. He would take advantage of their vulnerable state and his mother’s absence.
As per the reports, the first incident took place in 2010 when the brother sexually assaulted his 11-year-old elder sister while they were watching a children’s program on television.
Another incident in 2013 was cited by the prosecution, describing how the accused assaulted the elder victim at night. The prosecution claimed that the victim reluctantly complied due to her distorted perception of sexual intimacy, shaped by the repeated sexual activities imposed by her brother over the years.
She had “become sexualised due to the accused’s repeated sexual activity with her over the years”, the report added.
Even when he began occupying the flat’s sole bedroom, the brother continued his offenses, luring his sisters to follow him there.
In 2014, when the elder victim was 15, she refused her brother’s request to go to his bedroom as she did not want to engage in sexual activity with him. In a concerning turn of events, she eventually yielded to his persistent demands, hoping that giving in would make the accused cease his requests for sexual activity.
However, that same year, the accused raped the younger victim, who was 10 years old at the time, while the three siblings were watching a television show. The elder victim, seated in front of them, was unaware of the act.
In 2017, the man enrolled in a full-time academic program and spent most of his time on campus, reducing his interactions with his sisters.
However, in June 2020, he molested the elder victim and propositioned her for sex. She refused and pushed his hand away.
Seeking counseling that year, the elder victim was encouraged to file a police report after disclosing the offenses to her counselor. Initially, she expressed her reluctance to do so, citing the incidents’ time lapse and concerns about her mother and sister discovering what the accused had done to her, as she was not yet prepared to discuss it with them. However, later that year, the victim experienced an emotional breakdown at school, leading to her being once again advised to file a police report.
On November 23, 2020, she filed the report, resulting in the accused’s arrest later that day. Upon seizing his mobile phone, authorities discovered four obscene films that had been recorded.
During examination at the Institute of Mental Health, it was determined that the man did not suffer from any mental illness at the time of the offenses, nor did he have an intellectual disability or pedophilic disorder.
The man’s lawyers, Mr. Nakoorsha Abdul Kadir, Ms. Rasveen Kaur, and Ms. Michelle Tang, argued that their client’s actions needed to be considered in light of his background, including his parents’ divorce when he was young.
“(Our client) did not have the benefit of a strong family support and lacked the presence of a father figure in his life,” they stated.
Ms. Kaur further argued that the accused’s understanding of sexual intimacy and relations had been distorted by his mother’s behavior, which perpetuated his warped perception.
She highlighted instances where the accused’s mother would bring home different sexual partners and engage in sexual activity, leading the accused to believe that his mother was having sexual relations with his “uncle.”
According to Ms. Kaur, the accused concluded this due to his mother instructing the children to refer to her boyfriend as “uncle.”
Consequently, the accused developed a distorted understanding of sexual intimacy from a young age, the lawyer argued, according to CNA.
The defense lawyers sought a jail term of 13 to 15 years, along with 12 strokes of the cane. However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Christina Koh requested a sentence of 15 to 17 years’ imprisonment and 14 strokes of the cane. She cited the victims’ young age and the man’s breach of trust in a familial context as aggravating factors.
Justice Hoo Sheau Peng, delivering the sentence, acknowledged that the man had committed the offenses at a young age. Considering him a first-time offender, she deemed the minimum statutory requirement of 12 strokes of the cane to be sufficient.
For the offense of aggravated statutory rape, the man could have received a jail term between eight and 20 years, along with at least 12 strokes of the cane. For the offense of sexual penetration of a minor under 16, he could have been sentenced to a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both.
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