SINGAPORE — A man who molested his sister-in-law several times while she lay asleep on a couch was sentenced to one year and two months' jail on Thursday (25 March).
The 28-year-old man pleaded guilty to three counts of molesting the 25-year-old victim, who is his wife's sister, in 2019. Both the man and the woman cannot be named to protect the latter's identity.
Since 2017, the woman had been staying with her sister and the accused man. She would sleep on the couch whenever her grandparents stayed over at the unit.
In July 2019, the man woke up around 6.30am to work and walked past the woman sleeping on the couch. He touched her left breast over her shirt and left for work. The woman slept throughout the incident.
On 22 September 2019, at around 4.06am, the man returned home to notice the victim sleeping on a couch in the living room. He approached the victim and touched her breast over her shirt, but the woman did not wake.
He retreated to the bedroom he shared with his wife but wanted to molest the victim again. He then crept to the couch and touched her breast again over her shirt before fleeing to his room.
As he managed to get away with his first two attempts on the same day, he decided to touch the woman a third time a few minutes later to fulfil his sexual urge. This time, however, he reached into the woman's shirt and touched her bare breast. The woman woke up and the man fled to his room.
The woman went back to sleep. At around 11am that day, she left the flat for work. At around 4pm, she managed to view the footage of a CCTV camera placed in the living room and spotted the man molesting her. She called her parents and told them that she did not dare to return home in their absence.
She lodged a police report the next day.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Esther Wong sought one year and four months' jail for the man, stating that there was a clear abuse of trust and an element of "perversity" to the offence.
The man had exploited a victim who was vulnerable as she was sleeping and defenceless, she added.
District Judge Marvin Bay noted a "high degree of sexual exploitation" in the case.
"The accused had, after all, been her brother-in-law, and she would have presumed herself to be safe in his home...The accused had become emboldened to attempt the third act after his earlier acts had been apparently undetected," the judge said, noting that the pressure the man applied had been enough to rouse the woman from her sleep.
For molest, the man could have been jailed up to two years, and/or fined, and/or caned.
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