by Sarah Senan and Samantha Brill
On the morning of December 8, 2016, Judge Samuel T. McAdam presided, in Department 7, over the People’s case against defendant Patricio Rosas. Mr. Rosas is being represented by Deputy Public Defender Peter Borruso, with Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin representing the People.
Defendant Patricio Rosas is on trial for multiple sexual assaults on a minor. Rosas is being charged with many counts, based on the allegations that he continuously sexually assaulted his wife’s daughter, particularly in 2015.
Patricio Rosas is accused of verbally and physically (violent and sexual) abusing his wife’s daughter at his place of work, Ridgewood Apartments in Woodland. On numerous times he supposedly took his stepdaughter to work with him, where he waited until dark and then allegedly sexually assaulted her multiple times in a work shed and in empty apartments. The witness was in middle school at the time the sexual assaults began.
The People continued with the direct examination of their witness, the stepdaughter and alleged victim. Despite being close with both her brothers and mother, the witness never confided her fears of Mr. Rosas to either her family members or close friends.
People’s Exhibit 23, a phone call recording, was presented by the People. Although the majority of the phone call was carried out in Spanish, the witness could be heard telling the defendant that she was at the school’s library. However, she was actually at the police department at the time of the phone call.
The witness noted that she feared Mr. Rosas would discover her lie, because he is able to detect when she is not telling the truth by her tone of voice. Throughout the phone call, the witness explained that she was worried she may be pregnant. After hearing the news, the defendant’s tone became furious and he asked the witness when she will be returning home.
“I’m scared you’re going to do it again…so I don’t want to go home,” stated the witness in fear.
As the phone call continued, the witness stated that she is scared the defendant will “do that thing” again. The witness never said what Patricio did in the shed, but she could be heard repeatedly referring back to the “incident in the shed on Thursday.”
The phone conversation ended by the witness saying: “You’re the one that did it to me.”
Ms. Serafin questioned the witness and asked if she is making all of this up because she is angry at her father for bringing women to the house, having girlfriends, or threatening to beat up her boyfriend. The witness responded in the negative to all of the questions.
Deputy Public Defender Peter Borruso cross-examined the witness on her frustration that her stepfather did not pay attention to her and her family members. The witness did explain her frustration with her stepfather bringing his girlfriends to the house, because that was disrespectful to her mother – who also lived in the same house.
As cross-examination navigated to a more personal level, Mr. Borruso began to question the witness on the topic of her period and birth control usage. With very vague answers, it was confirmed by the witness that the defendant would rape her even when she was on her period. It was confirmed that he would sexually assault her through vaginal intercourse, only stopping when ejaculation was reached inside of the witness. The witness also stated that she began taking birth control in middle school. However, she stated that she took it for her own safety.
After the witness was dismissed, the People brought in their second witness of the morning: Pablo Gonzalez, a detective with the Woodland Police Department. He explained that he had communicated with the counselor at the witness’ high school. A counselor contacted the police department after the complaining witness confided to an aide/security guard at her school, by writing her a letter explaining her situation.
Defendant Tried for Multiple Alleged Sexual Assaults: Mother and Boyfriend Testify
By Samantha Brill
Defendant Patricio Rosas is on trial for multiple sexual assaults on a minor. Rosas is being charged on many counts, based on the allegations that he continuously sexually assaulted his wife’s daughter, particularly in 2015.
Patricio Rosas is accused of verbally and physically (violent and sexual) abusing his wife’s daughter at his place of work, Ridgewood Apartments. Rosas has been working there for quite some time as a handyman. On numerous times he took his stepdaughter to work with him, where he waited till dark and then allegedly sexually assaulted her multiple times in a work shed and empty apartments.
The defendant is being represented by Deputy Public Defender Peter Borruso. The People are being represented by Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin. Judge Samuel T. McAdam presided in Department 7 as the People questioned their witness, the wife of the accused and mother of the alleged victim, after the afternoon lunch break. This witness used the aid of an interpreter throughout her testimony, as she only speaks and understands Spanish.
The witness was asked to explain how Mr. Rosas felt about her daughter dating a fellow classmate (“MH”). She felt that Patricio was okay with MH and her daughter dating, as long as they only saw each other at their home. Even though Patricio did not want the alleged victim to have a boyfriend, he gave MH permission to talk to his stepdaughter.
However, Mr. Rosas would get upset when MH was over at their house for too long.
Ms. Serafin then questioned the witness about whether or not she knew about Mr. Rosas’ other girlfriends. The witness explained that she was aware of them and that it upset her – so much so that she did not agree with their spending time at her home, and she tried to kick them out on numerous occasions.
The witness then explained her living situation before the law became involved in this matter. She stated that she lived in a three-bedroom home with the defendant, her daughter, her two sons, and two of Patricio’s friends. The two boys shared one room, Patricio’s friends shared another, and she, Patricio, and her daughter shared the third room.
She further explained that most nights the three of them shared the same queen-sized bed. However, there had been some nights were she was asked by the defendant to sleep in her son’s room, leaving the defendant and her daughter alone.
The mother explained to the court that she had never seen the defendant hit her daughter – although the daughter claimed to have witnessed Mr. Rosas physically abuse her mother and she even tried to stop him from hurting her mother.
Moving to discuss the days leading up to the witness’ daughter seeking help at school, Ms. Serafin asked the witness about how she found out her daughter was being sexually abused by the defendant. She responded by explaining that MH had called her and told her what had been happening. She tried talking to her daughter when the girl came home that same day, however her daughter did not want to discuss it.
Her daughter did not want her to go to the police because she was scared about what would happen. The witness was reassured by her daughter that she would tell someone at school the next day.
The People then allowed the witness to make it clear to the court that she and her daughter are not making this story up due to anger about Mr. Rosas having other girlfriends, or for any other reason.
The defense then briefly questioned this witness, determining that the witness never saw Mr. Rosas have sex with her daughter.
Mr. Borruso also asked if the witness was jealous of the defendant’s girlfriends. The witness explained that of course she was jealous – she did not like them coming over.
The witness had a hard time remembering what day MH called her, but she knew it was during the time that he should have been in school. She also explained that she does not know why she did not stop her daughter from going to work with Mr. Rosas after finding out what had been happening.
The witness was then excused and the People called their next witness, the victim’s boyfriend, MH.
MH started off by explaining how he had to ask the defendant permission to be in a relationship with the victim, which was given. However, after a few months Mr. Rosas became aggressive toward MH and would no longer allow him to see the victim and threatened to beat him up if he came over.
MH witnessed the defendant getting mad at the victim constantly for not going to school or for seeing MH without permission. He also witnessed Patricio smoking what he suspected to be methamphetamine inside the house on three occasions.
Leading up to the victim confessing what was happening to her, she would also hint to MH that she had something she want to tell him. Eventually one day she sent him a text message, after she was picked up and taken home by the defendant. She explained how Mr. Rosas had been continuously sexually assaulting her and that it was going to happen again, so could he please call her mom and let her know.
MH called her mom and explained what he could. The next day the victim further explained what had been going on and MH encouraged her to talk to someone at school. MH explained that it took the victim a week before she finally wrote a letter to the school’s security guard/aide.
The defense then asked MH why he did not drive over to his girlfriend’s house, to stop the abuse from happening, the day she told him about it. He explained that he was still unsure about all the details and that he did not want to break the victim’s trust, so he just did as she asked and called her mom.
The defense continued by asking MH why the investigating officer was unable to locate this text message conversation, between MH and the alleged victim. MH explained that when the officer looked at his cell phone, it was a few weeks after the conversation, so his phone had automatically deleted the conversation in order to make room for more messages.
The witness also explained to the court that he would not be able to make up such a horrible story and that everything he said in court today was true.
The People then continued with redirect examination but, before getting too far, the court went on its evening break, planning to resume Friday morning at 9:00am.