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SINGAPORE: Barely a month after he employed a new domestic helper for his household, a man bought condoms intending to have sex with the 27-year-old woman.

The 66-year-old man attempted to rape the Indonesian woman twice, but was unable to as he suffered from erectile dysfunction. 

Instead, he sexually assaulted her in other ways on five occasions in less than a month, and was caught only after the maid took a friend’s advice and filmed one of the attacks for evidence.

The man, now 68, was sentenced on Monday (Oct 18) to 12-and-a-half years’ jail. He pleaded guilty to one count of attempted rape and one charge of sexual assault by penetration. Another six similar charges were considered in sentencing.

He cannot be named due to gag orders protecting the victim’s identity.

The court heard that the victim began working for the accused on May 9, 2019, her first job in the country.

She was tasked with household chores and caring for the accused’s granddaughter when her parents dropped her off at the flat. 

The accused was jobless, while his wife worked six days a week, leaving him alone at home with the victim.

Sometime before early-June 2019, the man decided to buy several condoms as he wanted to have sex with the victim, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Angela Ang.

THE FIRST ATTACK

On the morning of Jun 7, 2019, the victim took a shower in the kitchen toilet. While she was on the way to her room, the accused walked past her and noticed her. He retrieved a condom and knocked on her door, wanting to have sex with her when his wife was not home.

The victim opened the door to her employer, and he entered her room. He said she smelled nice, before hugging her. The victim struggled but he continued hugging her and began kissing her neck.

He then attempted to rape her. The victim repeatedly said “stop it” and that she “didn’t want”, but could not break free.

The man was unable to rape her as he had difficulties sustaining an erection, so he sexually assaulted her instead.

After this, the victim decided to remain silent as she hoped it was a one-time incident, and she needed to support her family back home in Indonesia.

However, she locked her bedroom door even though she had been told not to do so.

Despite this, the accused continued to sexually assault her. On one occasion, he retrieved a spare key and entered her room while she was sleeping. He attempted to rape her again and sexually assaulted her.

The victim was unable to tolerate the abuse and contacted a fellow domestic worker for help. Her friend gave her contact details to the Centre for Domestic Employees, and advised her that she would need proof of the assault if she wanted to report it.

Initially, the victim was reluctant to call the centre as she feared upsetting the accused’s wife, whom she felt had treated her kindly. She also hoped that the accused would stop his assaults of his own accord.

On Jul 1, 2019, the victim was home alone with the accused when she felt discomfort in her stomach. She was applying medicated oil on her stomach in her room when the accused went in.

He asked if she needed to see a doctor, before offering to apply the oil on her. After this, he hugged the woman before sexually assaulting her.

At this point, the victim recalled her friend’s advice and managed to turn on the video-recording mode of her mobile phone. Parts of the ensuing assault were captured on video.

After a second assault that same day, the victim called the Centre for Domestic Employees to seek help and sent over the video of the attack.

The accused was arrested and medically examined. A report found that he likely suffered from vasculogenic erectile dysfunction.

APPALLING ABUSE: PROSECUTOR

The prosecution asked for at least 15 years and six months’ jail, calling the case “an especially appalling instance of abuse” where the accused exploited his position of trust as patriarch of the household.

Defence lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said it was “quite clear” from the statement of facts that the accused was “responding to spontaneous urges”.

The condoms were “purchased for the purpose of protected sex”, and not for the purpose of rape, he said.

At the time of the offences, the accused was not fully aware of the severity of his erectile dysfunction, added Mr Sudheesan.

He said the crimes were “bizarrely uncharacteristic” of his client, providing a testimonial from a relative who said his client took excellent care of his previous maids to the extent of researching the best mobile phone plans for them.

He has made financial compensation to the victim, and there were no physical injuries on the victim, said the lawyer.

“I’m troubled that such a good man fell so badly,” he said. “He certainly accepts responsibility for his actions.”

The prosecutor responded that the argument that the accused bought the condoms for sex but not rape was one that was “neither here not there”.

The judge allowed the offender to have some time with his family before he was taken away.

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