SINGAPORE — A housewife who sexually abused her daughter's mildly intellectually disabled schoolmate was jailed one year on Wednesday (17 March).
The 45-year-old woman exploited the then 15-year-old victim's liking for her daughter and told him that she would guide him in wooing her. After convincing the teen's mother to let the boy sleep over, the woman then shared a bed with him and masturbated on two separate occasions.
The woman was sentenced after she pleaded guilty to two counts of committing an indecent act with a young person, in breach of the Children and Young Persons Act. The victim cannot be named due a court imposed gag order.
Lured victim to her home
At the time of the offences, the boy was studying at a school for individuals with mild intellectual disabilities and mild autism. He has an IQ of 56, which places him in the mild intellectual disability range.
The victim was a good friend of the woman's daughter – also a student at the same school – and began chatting online with the woman last year. The woman and the victim eventually began chatting in person, with the woman often comforting the boy over his troubles with his then-girlfriend. The woman knew that the boy liked her daughter and said she could “actually guide him along through the path”.
In March last year, she began addressing him as "dear" and considered him to be her godson. During the school holidays that month, she began inviting him to her house. The boy would accept the invitations as he wanted to meet the woman's daughter.
For a week, he visited the woman's house almost daily. While there, he and the woman's daughter would do their homework with the woman watching over them, before they played games together.
At one point, the boy laid on top of the woman's daughter and kissed her on the mouth. The woman, who witnessed the boy's actions, responded by saying that "you cannot do that to my daughter because she's still very fresh", said the prosecution.
The woman later asked the boy to stay over at her home. His mother was initially reluctant for her son to do so, but the woman claimed she would take care of him and monitor him.
The boy's mother relented on the assurance that her son would sleep separately from her daughter and that there would be no close physical interaction between her son and the woman's daughter. The victim then stayed over for a week.
The woman's 53-year-old husband – who is not her daughter's father – was unaware of the boy's presence in the house the entire time as his wife would ask the victim and her daughter to be in the living room when he was at work, and tell them to go into another room when he came home. The husband also slept in a separate room from his wife.
Instead of keeping to her promise to the boy's mother, the woman had the boy sleep in bed in between her and her daughter.
On several occasions, as they were in bed, the woman hugged and kissed the boy. She told him that such acts "only can be done at home" and not outside or while the boy was in his school uniform.
On 23 and 26 March, the woman also groped him underneath his clothes and masturbated him.
The victim felt uncomfortable over the woman's actions but did not try to stop her as he was afraid of being shouted at by the woman.
He reported the offences to a social worker on 26 March and was brought to lodge a police report.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Hidayat Amir asked for a jail term of one year and two months for the woman, saying that she had premeditated her offences by planning for him to stay over. She also hid the boy from her husband, who lived in the same house.
Pleading for leniency, the woman said she had to care for her disabled parents and her daughter, who was present in court with her.
"My daughter needs me, she’s the only one I have, I hope can extend e-tagging. I don't wish to be inside prisons. (It is my) first time offending, I don't want to offend again," she said while tearing up. She added that the boy was no longer in the same school as her daughter and that she did not wish to have any further contact with him.
District Judge Janet Wang said, however, that a jail term was clearly warranted in the woman's case.
"The accused was entrusted with a supervisory role, there was an element of trust reposed in her by both the victim and his mother... She lulled the victim into a false belief that her actions were meant to coach him in winning her daughter's affection," the judge said.
For committing an indecent act with a young person, the woman could have been jailed up to five years, fined up to $10,000, or both.
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