SINGAPORE - When the mother took her young daughter to church in 2010, she had no inkling a dangerous predator lurked, hiding behind a pastor's garb.
And when he made his move to satisfy his carnal desires, the assistant pastor wrecked the girl's life and broke up her family. Her parents are no longer together.
Picking up the shattered pieces of her life has not been easy for the girl, now 17.
It has been about two years and the memories still haunt her.
In her victim impact statement, parts of which were read out in court, she said recurrent memories of the sexual acts leave her feeling scared, hurt and angry.
For months afterwards, she had nightmares of the man and of what happened.
She would have mood swings and start crying. She would also become anxious when she sees someone vaguely resembling the man.
In a statement from her father, he said his relationship with the girl's mother has been affected, as she was the one who introduced her daughter to the church, and therefore the man, to the girl.
The girl's mother has since left the family. Counselling has failed to bring the family back together, he said.
The girl also blames her parents for not doing enough to protect her.
The man "has destroyed my family", the father concluded.
On Friday, the former assistant pastor was jailed for 16 months for two counts of oral sex with the girl, who was just 15 years old at the time.
In mitigation, he says...
1. I'm married
I have a wife and three children who are between eight and 17 years old.
2. I have a disorder
A private psychiatrist, Dr Munidasa Winslow, found he had untreated sexual addiction.
An Institute of Mental Health (IMH) psychiatrist diagnosed him with adjustment disorder with depressed mood following his arrest, and was of the opinion that he does not suffer from paedophilia.
3. I wanted to help others, but couldn't
He said he planned for himself and his family to go to Thailand and set up a mission. It was meant to be fully self-funded.
As a step towards it, he and his wife downsized their home from an executive HDB to a four-room flat to raise money.
They also made arrangements for the children to be taken out of school and relocated.
But his proposal was rejected by the church management, leaving him "disillusioned and disappointed," Dr Winslow noted.
"He continued to struggle with his sexual urges and also tested his 'boundary' (re: sexual advances) whenever he had an opportunity."
4. My wife has forgiven me
The man and his wife are undergoing marriage counselling. She has forgiven him and is now rallying around him to give him strength.
He now attends another church, where he has made full disclosure of his offence to the pastor there.
Similar cases in the US
In Seattle, former associate pastor John Lawlor, 55, was arrested for trying to pay a 16-year-old girl for sex.
Prostitution is illegal in the US. He was caught in a police raid and was jailed for three months.
Lawlor quit his church position when he pleaded guilty last month to second-degree assault.
In Philadelphia, a priest will go on trial for allegedly raping more than 20 children.
He was arrested last month in connection with incidents between 1998 and 2001, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The allegations include oral sex and digital penetration.
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