Critical testimony has come forward in the trial of Antonio Carter Bibbs, accused of multiple counts of child molestation of a four-year-old victim.
Tiffany Lucero, a CPS Emergency responder and investigator for Alameda County, took the stand Thursday – it was her assessment that led to the police being contacted and the children being removed from the biological mother and her boyfriend in the case, with both facing molestation charges.
Under direct examination from Deputy DA Brooke Jenkins, Ms. Lucero testified that CPS received an immediate referral, requiring action within two hours. The report was anonymously received. She arrived at the girl’s grandmother’s home in Alameda County. However, the girl and her younger brother were not home at the time, and instead were with their mother.
The grandmother did not have a direct way to contact the children’s mother because her phone was disconnected. The grandmother usually contacted the children through the boyfriend, Ms. Lucero testified, adding she told the grandmother not to inform the mother that CPS was involved, but to tell the mother to get the children back to the home in Alameda County.
Upon the second visit to the home on January 17, three days later, she learned of the name Antonio Carter, which was later found to be the incorrect name. That name, she discovered, tracked to a registered sex offender with charges of sexual abuse against minors.
And that created a red flag with the CPS worker – based on the mistaken identity, as the defense would bring out in cross-examination.
Ms. Lucero testified that she eventually spoke with the little girl, who made some detailed allegations against Mr. Carter Bibbs. The girl indicated that she said to stop and he said no. Furthermore, the girl said that she was scared and uncomfortable from the experience.
When this occurred, Ms. Lucero could not get a clear answer; however, the little girl indicated that it happened several times.
Based on this account, said Ms. Lucro, she took the action of placing both the little girl and her brother into protective custody on January 17.
Under cross-examination, Deputy Public Defender Eric Quandt asked her how CPS confirms the identity of the individual who files the anonymous complaint, in order to confirm the account given.
Ms. Lucero indicated that this information does not matter; what matters, she said, was what the girl said, not who reports the incident.
Ms. Lucero was also asked about the identity of Antonio Carter. She said she was informed by SF Police that they did not believe the person involved was the Antonio Carter that Ms. Lucero discovered was a registered sex offender. She indicated under cross-examination that she was not planning to do a removal at this time – but rather would make the determination based on her conversation with the four-year-old girl.
Mr. Quandt then played for the jury and the court the recording of the 911 call from Ms. Lucero to dispatch. On the recording she tells dispatch that the boyfriend is a convicted child sexual predator and multiple times said “I need her out,” adding “This is probably a removal because of the prior sexual offenses.”
Ms. Lucero said that “we strongly believe it’s true (the allegations) considering the suspect has a history of sexual assault on a child. So we believe it’s a removal.”
Mr. Quandt asked if the girl or her brother smelled like urine when she contacted them. She indicated that she could not recall, said no, and then that she could not recall. Upon looking at her notes, she said that she made no reference to smelling urine in her notes and therefore thought it likely that she would have noted that if that had been the case.
This was in regard to a specific allegation of an incident that had just taken place.
In addition, she indicated that she did not do a SART examination on the girl and did not seem to know whether such a process would be invasive.
In terms of the misidentification, Ms. Lucero testified that it was law enforcement’s job to correct the record, rather than her or CPS’ job.
Under re-direct, Ms. Lucero again stated that she was informed by San Francisco PD that the suspect was not Antonio Carter. She said that she would not make the determination of removal without talking to the children – and a removal would be based on what the child says.
However, when Sgt. Nichols Buckley of the SFPD took the stand, he testified that he was given Antonio Carter with a 1989 date of birth. He indicated that SFPD strangely found two Antonio Carter’s with the same date of birth – however, when he ran the phone number he found Antonio Carter Bibbs with a different date of birth and without the record of sexual assault.
Importantly, under cross-examination, Sgt. Buckley testified that Ms. Lucero was convinced that the person involved was Antonio Carter. He testified that she told him when he searched the system and found the subject. It showed the subject as being a sex offender, and she said that “had to be the subject.”
He testified that he disagreed with her.
He further indicated that the mother waived her Miranda rights, and denied the possibility of sexual abuse on her daughter, indicating that the little girl had never been alone with Mr. Carter Bibbs.
Both she and Mr. Carter Bibbs submitted to a DNA swab voluntarily.
—David M. Greenwald reporting