A CANADIAN man has been accused in his home country of raping a Singaporean teenager half his age.
Winnipeg native James Brian Stephenson was 35 when he befriended the 16-year-old in 2012.
The pair had apparently met through an online video game before hitting it off. She visited him in Winnipeg last April.
Six months later, Stephenson was arrested and charged with assaulting the Singaporean. Four more charges were added last month.
Charge sheets obtained by The Straits Times show Stephenson, who is now 37, has been accused of repeatedly assaulting the teen sexually between April 1 and Aug 1 last year. The girl is now 18.
Other charges include luring the teen online for the purpose of child pornography from July 1, 2013, to April 1 last year and possessing and importing child pornography.
Stephenson had told Winnipeg Free Press, a Canadian broadsheet, that he and the Singaporean teen had got "married" in the game they frequented online.
The girl, accompanied by her 49-year-old mother, flew to Winnipeg last April, after she turned 18, to meet him.
It is not known when the duo's relationship began to sour, though Stephenson started posting emotional Facebook updates in August last year.
In his most recent posting, he said he had been victimised and used. Referring to his "wife" and "mother-in-law", he said: "They extorted me and used our marriage and I have been left in tears for the last year."
The Straits Times found several photographs on Stephenson's Facebook page showing him kissing and hugging the teen.
A YouTube video that he uploaded last April shows a simple tea ceremony involving the teen's mother. While she is seated, the teen and Stephenson can be seen taking turns to kneel down to offer tea to her.
The video appears to have been filmed in Stephenson's house in Winnipeg. The teen can be heard saying to her mother: "I'm sorry for all my wrongdoings... and thank you for bringing me up."
Her mother then says: "I hope you have a blissful marriage, a happy one, and a long-lasting one, and have lots and lots of children and grandchildren. Have a rich and (prosperous) life. Be sweet with your husband." She then drinks the tea and hands a red packet to her daughter.
When it is Stephenson's turn to offer tea, he says: "I'd just like to thank you for everything you have done for me and for being so patient. I haven't been the great boy that you really want."
To that, the teen's mother says: "Don't worry, you are good enough. If not, I won't hand her to you. I hope that you can be better at everything. As time (passes) by, you get better."
She also calls on Stephenson to be accommodating to her daughter, who she said was "not perfect", before handing him a red packet. Stephenson and the teen's mother then hug at the end of the tea ceremony.
When The Straits Times visited the teen's home in Singapore last night, her father said he is aware of the criminal charges, but not the details.
He also said the teen and her mother are now in Canada, where the teen is studying.
Stephenson has been granted bail with the condition that he has no contact with the teen or any children under the age of 16.
Additional reporting by Melissa Lin
This article was first published on April 15, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.