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Homecourts crimeJail, cane for man who sexually abused his teenage sister-in-law, made her...

Jail, cane for man who sexually abused his teenage sister-in-law, made her feel like ‘sex slave’

SINGAPORE – A teenager was made to feel like a “sex slave” by her brother-in-law, a man she regarded as a brother but who really was a predator who sexually abused her from when she was about nine years old.

The court heard that on one occasion in 2017, he raped her after watching pornography on his mobile phone.

She had desperately tried to stop him, by blocking the door to her room with the television set she had. The man’s wife – the victim’s eldest sister – was not home at the time, and the rest of the family members were all asleep.

The man, now 40, only stopped when he heard the victim’s mother opening her bedroom door. The girl, who is now 21, was between 14 and 15 years old then.

The man was sentenced to 18 years’ jail and 16 strokes of the cane on Monday, after he pleaded guilty to a charge of rape and another charge of sexual penetration of a minor. Ten charges involving sexual offences against the same victim were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing.

His lawyer Ryan David Lim said his client did not contest the charges, and had pleaded guilty to spare the victim from having to testify in court. The man was hoping to be given 10 strokes of the cane.

But the perpetrator, who cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the victim’s identity, was sentenced to more strokes by District Judge Terence Tay, who described the offences as heinous and the acts as revolting.

The man had married the victim’s sister in 2009, and they lived in a flat with their four children, the victim and her parents until 2020.

“The victim and the accused shared a close relationship, in that the victim treated the accused like a brother and trusted him,” said deputy public prosecutors Yohanes Ng and Teo Lu Jia.

On five occasions in 2012 and 2013 before dropping the girl off at school or while they were out running errands, the offender drove her to a secluded carpark and performed a sex act on her, causing her to feel pain.

He also got her to perform sex acts on him during that period. The man was around 28 years old and she was about nine.

The prosecution said he decided to take advantage of his sister-in-law after watching pornographic videos of sexual acts committed against young teenagers.

The offences came to light when the victim made a police report on March 14, 2022, on her boyfriend’s urging. The man was arrested the next day.

The victim did not tell anyone about the abuse earlier as she wanted her family members to be on good terms, and because she did not want to make things “more messy”.

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Said the prosecution: “She was also concerned that no one would believe her, and she also did not want to affect her sister’s marriage with the accused. She also felt close to the accused as he was a family member who occasionally gave her extra pocket money.

“However, she felt like the accused’s ‘sex slave’ due to his actions.”

The prosecutors argued for him to be sentenced to between 18 and 20 years’ jail, with 16 to 20 strokes of the cane.

They highlighted the importance of general deterrence, and noted the difficulty in detecting intra-familial sexual abuse and the barriers faced by victims in reporting such crimes.

They added that such offences involving minors generate public disquiet and aversion.

Mr Lim said his client has since divorced the victim’s sister and started a new relationship with a fellow divorcee.

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