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‘There is a monster’: Singapore gir1, five, says after allegedly molested by nanny’s husband

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Tan Wee Tim, 69, is accused of molesting a five-year-old girl, who was being cared for by his wife in his Jurong West flat. — TODAY pic
Tan Wee Tim, 69, is accused of molesting a five-year-old girl, who was being cared for by his wife in his Jurong West flat. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Nov 19 — The mother of a young girl who was allegedly molested by her babysitter’s husband said that her daughter confided in her that an “uncle” had touched her “many times.” The financial consultant at an insurance company, who broke down while testifying, took to the witness stand yesterday — the second day of Tan Wee Tim’s trial.

The 69-year-old man faces one molestation charge of touching the girl’s private parts with his hand on the afternoon of April 12, 2019. The woman’s husband and the victim testified on Tuesday with the girl giving evidence behind closed doors.

They cannot be named due to a court order to protect the identity of the girl who was five years old at the time of the alleged incident.

Hired her from Gumtree

The girl’s mother, aged 47, testified that she hired Tan’s wife — whom they called “Ah Kuan aunty” — in September 2018 after seeing her advertisement on the Gumtree portal.

The woman and the girl visited Ah Kuan’s flat in Jurong West to see if the girl would be comfortable there. Her mother also asked the nanny about her family background.

She told the court: “Nowadays, because of social media exposure, children are more mature for their age and my daughter is very young. I want her to stay in an environment with only girls. I don’t want any chance for her to be taken advantage of.”

She then learned that Ah Kuan’s husband was a retiree and her daughter was already grown up. All three lived together in the flat.

“I was quite okay even though her husband was a man. I didn’t know his exact age to me, he should be like a grandfather figure,” she added.

When questioned by Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Ying Min on how she came to this conclusion, she said it was based on her assumption as he was a retiree.

After her husband also visited Ah Kuan’s home, they decided to hire her.

Ah Kuan would pick the girl up from kindergarten at 11.30am and take care of her till about 7pm when her mother finished work. The nanny provided her meals and took her to enrichment classes as well.

Uncle touch my private part’

On the evening of April 12 last year, the girl’s mother testified that she was late picking her daughter up due to a work appointment.

When she called Ah Kuan to let her know, the other woman said she was already on her way to Malaysia to visit her mother as was her usual Friday routine.

“She told me no need to worry, (the girl) is home with her husband,” the mother said.

When the mother and daughter eventually got home, she asked the girl what she and “uncle” were doing earlier. She said her daughter then fell unusually quiet and remained silent despite her repeating the question.

“So I asked her, were you sitting on the sofa, was uncle reading newspaper or sleeping, were you playing with your toys? She did not answer me so I had to probe many, many times. “Then she just told me, ‘Uncle touch my private part’.”

The girl’s mother told the court that she “felt very angry” and “heart pain” upon hearing this. 

She said that when she asked her daughter why she did not move away, the girl responded that she walked around the living room “but uncle kept following her.”

“I asked her, ‘Is this the first time uncle touched you’? She said many times,” the mother added in tears.

Senior District Judge Ong Hian Sun gave her time to recollect herself before continuing.

“She told me it’s direct contact. She said uncle pulled down her panties a bit and (molested her). I asked her, ‘Why didn’t you tell me’? She said, ‘Uncle said cannot tell mama.’

“I think she felt it was her fault, that if she told me, I would scold her. I gave her assurance, I told her it’s not her fault. I thanked her for telling me so I could protect her,” the girl’s mother added, her voice breaking.

Demonstrated with teddy bear, doll

Later that night, she called her husband to tell him what had happened.

They got her to demonstrate the alleged molestation using a teddy bear and her underwear. Her mother took a video of this, which was played in court behind closed doors.

Dr Parvathy Pathy, a senior consultant at the Institute of Mental Health who interviewed the girl and her mother in July 2019, also testified yesterday.

Dr Parvathy said that she got the girl to demonstrate what happened to her using a doll.

The psychiatrist’s medical report stated that the girl said, “Uncle told her don’t tell people,” and that he committed many similar acts in the living room.

While the girl seemed well and said she did not think much about the acts, Dr Parvathy told the court that in her experience, child sexual abuse victims may not understand what had happened until they go for sex education classes at an older age.

They may then display emotional or behavioural symptoms, the psychiatrist said.

Dr Parvathy recounted how the girl wanted to visit her nanny again after her parents made a police report but then told her mother: “There is a monster there.”

The trial continued yesterday.

If convicted of molesting a minor, Tan could be jailed up to five years or fined, or both. Offenders can receive caning but those aged 50 and above cannot be caned by law. — TODAY

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