By Naomi Cherone
RIVERSIDE, CA—Vicente “DOE”* last Friday sat in the Riverside County Superior Court department in an orange jumpsuit, facing charges of interacting inappropriately with the victim, who happened to be his stepdaughter.
(*Note: To protect the identity of the victim, The Vanguard has disguised the real name of the defendant).
This case seemed complicated at the forefront, and that remained true as evidence was presented throughout the preliminary hearing. From interviews with the victim and “DOE” to police reports, it was evident that “DOE” appeared to have crossed the line several times with the victim.
What made this case more convoluted was the fact that the actions of inappropriately touching his nine-year-old stepdaughter took place in the time span of four to five years. “DOE” even went on to say that “it occurred too many times for [him] to even remember.”
An interview conducted by a police officer, referred to as Detective Tooth, revealed that “DOE” admitted to molesting the victim, and claimed it would occur several times a week at 2 a.m. whenever he would get home from work. The victim had supposedly been asleep, and thus “DOE” had not expected the victim to ever speak up about the occurrences.
Detective Tooth went on to explain that during the interview the victim said, “She would lay there and pretend she was asleep, or would pull the blankets back up to cover her body.”
The victim knew that when she heard the floor in her room squeak, her stepfather had arrived and she could already anticipate what would happen, considering that it occurred so often that it even became predictable.
“Her floor would squeak, and that was a telltale sign that Vicente was going to touch her,” shared Detective Tooth.
The interview with the victim also revealed that she began to sleep with jeans on in hopes that the stepfather would no longer intrude on her privacy in the illicit ways that he did.
When brought in for questioning, the defense and prosecution had many questions and points of clarification they had hoped to obtain from him—questions about how the victim felt about the occurrences with her stepfather, as well as dates and specific details about “DOE”’ answers.
Det. Tooth seemed to have trouble recollecting the specific details a few times during the hearing and was given the opportunity to look at the interview script.
“Only look back to the report in order to refresh your memory but do not testify directly from the report, detective,” said Judge Anthony R. Villalobos.
A 30-minute break was taken after the questioning of Det. Tooth, and everyone was asked to come back in order to continue to look into what led “DOE” to turn himself in to authorities.
It was then brought to the court’s attention that “DOE” had actually called 9-1-1 himself, in order to come forward and take accountability for his actions.
The interview with Det. Tooth brought up how “DOE” had expressed some remorse throughout the five years that he inflicted this trauma onto his stepdaughter. “DOE” shared how he apologized to the victim multiple times, but the genuineness of these apologies remained greatly in question.
The victim also shared how she had felt a father-daughter bond with “DOE”, but expressed how each time he came into her room she felt scared and afraid about what he would do this time.
“Since she didn’t say anything, [‘DOE’] thought that she liked it, completely disregarding consent and the implications that come from the lack thereof,” said the prosecutor.
What triggered “DOE” to speak up about what had occurred were his growing feelings of paranoia.
“DOE” worked as a janitor, and was a part of the cleaning crew at night, and felt himself being targeted whenever a deputy was following him, as if they had known what he continuously did to his stepdaughter.
At the “DOE” residence, which happened to be at a trailer park, there had been a posting of notices that there had been a sexual predator in the neighborhood, and when “DOE” did not receive this notice at his door, he became concerned. “DOE” thought it was a sign that they knew about what he had been doing.
This paranoia resulted in his contacting authorities, after which three police cars and four officers showed up at his residence; there was no turning back from there.
The preliminary hearing was meant to learn more about the trauma “DOE” inflicted, as well as the presenting of interview information. The court is expected to continue looking into this matter at a later date.
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