A man who fondled his daughter more than seven years ago, while massaging her back for a spinal condition, was sentenced to a year in jail yesterday.
The former bus driver was also ordered to be given two strokes of the cane for the incident in 2007, which came to light only in 2010 when the girl confided in a teacher.
Now 18, she feels insecure around men and avoids getting too close to her friends. She lives with a caregiver and does not want to return home.
Both she and her father cannot be named to protect her identity.
Yesterday, he was sentenced after admitting to squeezing his daughter's breasts at the end of a routine massage session in the master bedroom of their HDB flat in Serangoon.
The massages, performed by the father, had been recommended by a traditional Chinese medicine physician to help treat the scoliosis she had been diagnosed with.
He would sometimes close and lock the bedroom door before starting a massage, especially if no one else was home. The victim is understood to have an older brother.
If his wife was out, the man would also ask his daughter, who turned 11 that year, to remove her shirt and bra as well.
On the day of the offence, he lifted her bra while massaging her and fondled her breasts as she sat up at his request. He then told her to take off her shorts and underwear, and continued to touch her.
A teacher in her secondary school noticed she was showing suicidal tendencies and was hurting herself, and reported the matter to the school after the girl confided in her. The victim later made a police report.
Calling for a jail term of between 12 and 18 months, Deputy Public Prosecutor Zhong Zewei said the man had violated his authority as a father, and in what was meant to be a safe place for a young child.
The girl had been further humiliated by having to strip almost completely naked, Mr Zhong added.
Asking for nine to 12 months' jail time, defence counsel Sunil Sudheesan said his client was now undergoing divorce proceedings because of the incident. Mr Sudheesan added that the man now suffers from major depressive disorder and is remorseful.
Passing sentence, District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt said that the man would have to live with the shame of what he had done for the rest of his life.
For outraging the modesty of his daughter with criminal force, the man could have been jailed for up to two years, fined or caned, or any two out of the three penalties.
This article was first published on Nov 28, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.