SINGAPORE, May 30 — A 41-year-old man was sentenced to six years and seven months’ jail and eight strokes of the cane yesterday for the attempted rape and molestation of his stepdaughter, then aged 11 or 12.

The man pleaded guilty to aggravated attempted rape of a person aged under 14, as well as outrage of modesty.

Both the offender and his victim cannot be named due to a court order to protect the victim’s identity.

The man’s sentence was backdated to his date of arrest on May 18 last year.

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What happened

Court documents showed that the man had been in a romantic relationship with the victim’s biological mother since 2004, and later moved in together with them and lived as a family.

The victim, who was between five and six years old then, treated the man like a father figure.

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They moved houses multiple times over the years — in 2010, they moved in with the man’s parents in the Chua Chu Kang district and later moved to a rented bedroom of a flat in Geylang in 2013.

The man and the victim’s mother registered their marriage in 2015.

They have four other children born between 2005 and 2013.

Sometime between 2010 and 2011 at about 2am to 3am, when the rest of the family was asleep in the living room of their home, the man woke up the victim and took her to the kitchen toilet.

He did so knowing that the victim, who was aged between 11 and 12 at the time, was quiet in nature and would follow his instructions.

The man tried to have sex with her but failed to do so after multiple attempts. He then sexually abused her.

In September 2013, when the victim was 14 years old, the man struck again to molest her when they were in the bedroom.

Most of the victim’s stepsiblings were watching television in the same room when it happened.

The victim’s mother was not there.

In April 2014, when the man was sent to jail for separate offences, the girl realised that the sexual acts committed by him were wrong and confided to her mother about what had happened.

Court documents did not specify the nature of the offences for which the man was jailed at this time.

The girl later ran away from home and said that she was too scared to go home because the man would soon be released from prison, court documents stated.

The victim’s mother filed a police report in May last year, on the advice of a social worker.

The man was arrested the same month.

Man was a father-figure to victim

On Wednesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Daphne Lim sought a jail sentence of between seven years, three months and seven years, five months — together with nine strokes of the cane.

She told the court that the man had abused the trust and authority of being a father-figure to the victim and sexually exploited the victim.

“The man had also brazenly molested the victim in the presence of his other young children, at her home, where she should have been the safest,” DPP Lim added.

In mitigation, defence counsel Michelle Tang from law firm Nakoorsha Law said that the man had pleaded guilty early, sparing the victim from more suffering of testifying in court if the case had gone to trial.

Tang also said that the victim had since forgiven the man for what he did.

District Judge Koo Zhi Xuan said that the sentence imposed was proportionate to the man’s criminality.

“It is a reminder that we live in a society that cannot tolerate any form of abuse against young and vulnerable victims, especially from someone they trust.”

For the attempted rape of a person under the age of 14, the man could have been jailed for up to 10 years, and shall also be punished with caning.

For outrage of modesty, he could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, caned or been given any combination of such punishments. — TODAY