By Samantha Rahn
Christopher Anthony Horcasitas stands accused of molesting his now 14-year-old sister-in-law and being in the possession of child pornography.
The alleged victim, “AA,” was absent from Judge Sonia Cortés’ courtroom. She recently claimed that she is apprehensive about Mr. Horcasitas’ potential release, but she had previously told probation otherwise. She is excluded as a witness due to the possibility of impeachment.
The People called Detective Leonard, an investigator for the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, to the stand. On May 16, 2019, he received a report from Child Welfare Services about alleged child molestation at AA’s residence. The child molestation in question reportedly occurred about two years prior.
At the time of the allegations, AA lived on a property with her immediate and extended family. The property contained a main residence, where AA, her mother, her uncle, and her brother lived. Separate from the house was a metal shop, where the defendant, Mr. Horcasitas, lived with his wife, who is AA’s sister, and their two children. There was also an apartment belonging to AA’s grandparents.
On May 23, 2019, a multidisciplinary interview revealed three instances of child molestation. The first encounter involved Mr. Horcasitas sneaking into the alleged victim’s bedroom and lying beside her in bed. She said that he lifted up her shirt and began to kiss her back. At the same time, he touched her vagina over her clothes. AA said that she wanted him to stop but did not say anything.
Another instance took place in AA’s mother’s bedroom. From the room, AA questioned Mr. Horcasitas via text about whether or not girls like to be kissed on the neck. She then texted him that she wanted him to kiss her neck. Then he entered her mother’s bedroom and began to kiss her neck. He rushed out of the room upon hearing a loud noise. AA told the interviewer that, although she consented at the time, she meant to say no.
The last encounter that AA detailed began with her playing video games with Mr. Horcasitas at the metal shop. He and AA discussed what women do to pleasure themselves and he showed her a box of dildos. AA says that, later, she found a dildo in her room that Mr. Horcasitas must have left for her to use. She told Mr. Horcasitas that she tried to use it but it did not fit. This prompted him to offer her a smaller one, which she declined.
Aside from those three encounters, AA reported that the two texted back and forth often about sexual material. Specifically, one conversation included whether or not she wanted to “lick his penis”. There was also another conversation where they discussed deleting their previous text messages to avoid getting caught. Mr. Horcasitas told AA that if she were to tell on him, he would tell on her. AA claims that in order to keep her quiet, he would give her small amounts of cash and little gifts, such as stuffed animals.
Detective Leonard was then questioned by the prosecution about his interviews with AA’s family members. Her uncle told the detective that he recalled Mr. Horcasitas asking him what would happen if he touched a minor. Her uncle, who is a registered sex offender, is the first person that she told about the molestation. She asked him not to tell her mother, but, shortly after telling him, the two had a conversation with her mother about the incidents.
AA’s mother said that she believed her daughter’s accusations at first. After confronting Mr. Horcasitas, however, she thought that her daughter made the whole thing up to get attention. When asked about AA’s mental state, she described her as “a little slow.” She also said that AA has trouble remembering things, such as time frames.
On May 29, 2019, Mrs. Horcasitas was interviewed by Detective Leonard at the sheriff’s office. She told the detective that she was aware of a text conversation from two to three years prior between Mr. Horcasitas and AA, in which they discussed “liking butts.” Mrs. Horcasitas said that she knew her husband frequently deleted his text messages and discussed an occasion when he lied to her about his email password.
During the interview, she referred to Mr. Horcasitas as a sex addict. She supported this claim by saying that her husband was often pushy about having sex and that it occurred about twice a day. In addition, she admitted knowing about the dildo collection that AA reported. Mrs. Horcasitas also told Detective Leonard that her husband liked to take nude photos of her.
Mrs. Horcasitas removed the password to her phone and handed it over to Detective Leonard. He obtained a warrant and the search revealed contents including both home pornography and child pornography. The detective believes that the photos were specifically child pornography because the naked subjects in them appeared prepubescent and short in stature. The detective was also able to search Mrs. Horcasitas’ laptop, which revealed more evidence of child pornography and otherwise lewd content.
Detective Leonard interrogated Mr. Horcasitas, who first denied ever touching AA. He later told the detective that he lied about this and that the two often had sexual conversations over text. He also described AA as being “pushy” when it came to asking questions of a sexual nature. He found this behavior tempting and said that he “gave in like an idiot.”
When asked about the allegations made, Mr. Horcasitas admitted that he lay in bed with AA and kissed her one time; however, he denied giving her any dildos. He also did not recall whether or not he had ever touched her vagina over her clothes. He did say that it was possible because he forgets things that happen sometimes, when he is drunk. Mr. Horcasitas also admitted that he used his wife’s phone and it probably contained child pornography.
Detective Leonard told the court that Mr. Horcasitas’ demeanor changed throughout his interview. His tone and body language indicated that he seemed more relaxed at the end, leading the detective to believe that he was at least partially telling the truth. Mr. Horcasitas was arrested following the interview.
On May 31, 2019, Mrs. Horcasitas visited her husband in jail. When discussing AA, Mrs. Horcasitas said that her younger sister “allowed it to happen.” She also described AA as “manipulative as f**k.” When Mr. Horcasitas’ mother visited, he told her that he was guilty. He also mentioned the situation being “consensual” but he did not say whether or not this referred to sex.
Detective Leonard was then cross-examined by Deputy Public Defender John Sage. Mr. Sage asked the detective if he was aware of a google account that AA used to write sexual novels. The detective said that he had gotten access to the account but had yet to see anything of a sexual nature. Mr. Sage also asked Detective Leonard what had happened to AA’s phone, which would have evidence on it. He said that AA told him that it had been thrown out by her grandfather.
Mr. Sage also expressed his concern with AA’s mental state and the possibility of a disability. He brought to light the fact that AA does not sleep in her bedroom anymore because she feels like she is being touched. He also referenced the comment her mother made about her “being slow.” He also asked the detective if he had gotten any information from AA’s schoolmates or counselor. The detective said he had not interviewed anyone but was informed that AA had previously claimed she wanted to commit suicide.
The deputy public defender also made a request for supervised OR. He argued that Mr. Horcasitas’s wife is working full-time to support their family. She would benefit from her husband’s help with taking care of their children. In addition, Mr. Horcasitas’ mother is sick with cancer and needs him as a caregiver.
Judge Cortés concluded that Mr. Horcasitas would not yet be released on probation. She says it is important that the court finds out whether or not the victim and her mother are fearful of Mr. Horcasitas’ release. An arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 9, 2019, at 9 am in Department 11.