SINGAPORE: A family friend entrusted with caring for his neighbour's 10-year-old daughter molested her instead over several months, as he felt "temptation to touch her while soaping her in the shower".
The 69-year-old man, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the victim, was sentenced on Friday (Mar 27) to three years, three months and 12 weeks' jail (39 months and 12 weeks).
He pleaded guilty to three counts of molesting a minor, with another four charges taken into consideration.
The court heard that the man was working as an Uber driver at the time of the offences.
His daughter befriended the victim's mother, and the victim started going over to the offender's home when her mother was not home, growing close to the offender's family over time.
The man also helped to fetch his grandchildren and the victim home from school and watched over them if his daughter was occupied.
He began molesting the victim in March 2016, progressing to kissing her lips and molesting her in the shower, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Sruthi Boppana.
TARGETED HER WHILE SHE WAS BATHING HIS GRANDCHILD
He molested the girl in March 2016 when she was in Primary 5, while she was bathing his granddaughter.
He sat on the toilet seat and waited for her, before making her sit on his lap and molesting her.
The man also hugged her from behind on another occasion and molested her, while she was washing dishes in the kitchen.
Shortly after this, the victim took the man's two-year-old granddaughter to the kitchen washroom to bathe her.
She needed a shower herself, so took off her clothes. However, the man entered the toilet and molested her.
The man later admitted that he did so "out of lust and as he felt the temptation to touch her, especially while soaping her in the shower".
He admitted that he would be "careful and quick" if his other grandchildren or his daughter were present, in order to avoid detection.
After these incidents, the victim stopped interacting with the man. She kept quiet as she feared the older man and did not dare to confront him.
She felt disgusted but remained silent through the abuse, not knowing how to seek help and fearing that her mother might scold or disbelieve her.
In July 2017, the victim was handed over to the care of Child Protective Services as her parents were in prison and none of her relatives were able to care for her.
A social worker eventually gained the girl's trust, and she revealed what the offender had done to her.
She was taken to a police station in September 2017 and a police report was lodged.
The prosecution had asked for at least 40 months' jail and 18 weeks' jail in lieu of nine strokes of the cane, saying that "sex crimes committed against children are among the most heinous".
She said the victim was a vulnerable, young victim, and that the man had been tasked with caring for her after school.
"The offences were committed over a prolonged period of about nine months and reflect a degree of escalation from less intrusive contact over clothes to direct skin-to-skin contact," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Sruthi Boppana.
For each charge of molesting a minor, the man could have been jailed for up to five years, fined, or both. He cannot be caned as he is above 50.