Singapore court sentences man to 20 years’ jail, caning for sexually abusing underage brother-in-law over four years

The man abused the boy from the end of 2008 to 2012, when the victim was between 10 and 14 years old. — Reuters pic
The man abused the boy from the end of 2008 to 2012, when the victim was between 10 and 14 years old. — Reuters pic

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SINGAPORE, Jan 27 — After being repeatedly sodomised by his brother-in-law, a teenage boy realised the acts were unlawful when he watched an episode of the long-running television show Crimewatch.

After the crimes came to light, the man absconded before the police could take his statement. 

He was arrested only four years later and, by that time, had remarried and fathered a child.

On Monday (January 25), the unemployed man, now 37, was jailed 20 years and given the maximum 24 strokes of the cane.

He pleaded guilty in the High Court to two charges of aggravated sexual assault by penetration.

Three other charges, including molestation of a minor, were taken into consideration during sentencing.

The man cannot be named because of a court order to protect the victim’s identity.

Repeated abuses

The man abused the boy from the end of 2008 to 2012, when the victim was between 10 and 14 years old. He began dating the boy’s sister in 2008.

She would take her brother along during their dates, sometimes at the Ang Mo Kio Swimming Complex.

Sometime at the end of that year, the man stayed over at their flat in Ang Mo Kio before an outing to Senoko Fishery Port the next morning.

That evening, he first molested the boy, then 10 years old, when the pair slept on a mattress in the living room.

Later that year, he sodomised the victim in a shower stall at the swimming complex. 

Deputy Public Prosecutors Kavita Uthrapathy and Angela Ang told the court that the boy felt “immense pain”, but did not tell anyone about the ordeal for fear that his parents would scold him or the man would break up with his sister. 

Told boy to keep mum

From then on, the man took the boy to the swimming complex about once every two months and sexually assaulted him.

Each time, he told him to keep mum about what happened.

The man married the boy’s sister in November 2009 and the family moved into a Woodlands flat two months later. The sexual assaults continued.

On one occasion in 2011, the boy found himself alone at home with the man after returning from football practice. 

The man checked on his wife’s location using the Find My iPhone mobile application. 

Seeing that she was still some distance away, he told the boy to peer through the peephole of the main door and tell him when he saw his sister and parents approaching. The boy complied and he sodomised him.

The assaults stopped for several months when the boy got into an argument with his sister and the man, but resumed around the middle of 2012.

After a sexual encounter that year, the victim saw an episode of Crimewatch featuring an adult sexually assaulting a boy.

The TV show presents crime cases solved by the police and dispenses crime prevention advice.

He then asked his father if that was wrong.

In response, his father said that it was and sensed that his son wanted to tell him something but appeared uncomfortable.

The boy later revealed the assaults to his mother, who told the victim’s sister what her husband had done. She confronted him and he confessed to the acts.

She later filed for a divorce and made a police report in November 2014. The divorce was finalised about a year later.

The man was summoned by the police, but became uncontactable and avoided the police’s attempts to reach him. 

A police gazette was issued and he was arrested four years later, in December 2018. 

Court documents did not give other details about how he evaded the authorities during those years.

Boy felt sad, angry

When the victim was assessed at the Institute of Mental Health’s Child Guidance Clinic, he said that he felt a mixture of sadness and anger when his friends joked about homosexuality. 

He reported being emotionally affected by the acts, but did not suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

As for the man, he was found to have a moderate risk of reoffending if similar circumstances arose.

The prosecutors said that despite his denial of sexual fantasies about underage people, it was possible that he suffered from paedophilic disorder, given his sexual arousal during the acts.

For each charge of aggravated sexual assault by penetration, the man could have been jailed up to 20 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane. — TODAY

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