SINGAPORE — A nine-year-old girl who was allegedly molested by her mother's boyfriend begged her mother to stay away from him in a voice recording heard by her father.
The father, who is divorced from the girl's mother, testified in a trial on Monday (2 August) that his daughter was heard in the recording saying that "the uncle" had done "something bad to her".
The alleged perpetrator, a 36-year-old Malaysian man, claimed trial on Monday to molesting the nine-year-old daughter of his girlfriend thrice between January and June 2018.
In one incident, he is alleged to have pulled her towards him on the sofa twice, causing his groin to touch her groin. He is also said to have touched her head with his groin area, and touched her buttocks with his groin area. All the alleged incidents took place while both were clothed.
All parties involved cannot be named to protect the identity of the alleged victim.
Taking the stand in the afternoon, the father testified that he divorced the girl's mother in 2016. After selling the matrimonial home, the girl's parents stayed in separate flats in the same HDB block in Jurong West. They shared joint custody of the girl and her elder brother, with the father paying maintenance.
Both children stayed with their father but were free to visit their mother, who lived a few floors below them. The father recalled that his daughter usually visited her mother about once a week.
Asked by the prosecution if he knew when his ex-wife got together with the accused man, the father replied, "The first time I saw him was in September 2017. That day I was still shifting my stuff over to the new house when I saw both of them come back quite late at night...they just came back from overseas."
His daughter did not speak to him about the accused, nor did she speak much about her visit to her mother's house except to say she was going to watch a movie or eat there, according to the witness.
In October 2018 however, the father came across a voice message that his daughter sent to her mother about the man, whom she referred to as "Uncle Veggie". He said his sister had discovered the message and let him hear it.
Asked to recount the content of the message, the father testified, "She is begging her (mother) not to be with him, worrying that he might steal her money." His daughter was heard saying that her mother can stay with her instead, he added.
"(My sister and I) suspected that something happened to her so we actually asked my daughter but at that point of time she kept on saying she can't remember. So we didn't force her to say."
The father said that the alleged victim was having her examinations then, and he did not want to pressure her.
He also did not approach his ex-wife or her boyfriend over the message. When asked about this by the accused person's lawyer Wee Hong Shern, the father said that he did not want to make false accusations.
After the alleged incident, the girl confided in a classmate who made a police report on 25 January 2019.
Her father was informed on the same day to pick up his daughter from a police station. The two of them and an investigation officer then headed to KK Women's and Children's Hospital for a medical checkup, which did not show any signs of sexual penetration.
He said that after he learned about the police report, he tried to speak to his daughter about the incident, but she did not want to reveal anything as she "did not feel ready". The man got his sister to speak to the girl instead.
The trial will continue on Tuesday with the victim and her classmate expected to testify.
Molesting a person under 14 carries a jail term of up to five years, or a fine, or caning, or any combination of the punishments.
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