By Genesis Guzman
SACRAMENTO, CA – “John XXX” (not his real name) is being charged with one felony count of child molestation, after being seen over Zoom by her teacher and others, allegedly molesting his granddaughter, according to information provided in Sacramento County Superior Court Wednesday.
*To protect the identity of the minor, the Vanguard is not using the correct name of the suspect.
On Aug. 25, 2020, a 5th grade teacher called the Sacramento Police Department reporting a potential child molestation, after witnessing one of her students getting groped by an older male over Zoom during her class.
Officer Daniel Bagley was the officer that day who spoke to the teacher about what she witnessed. She reported seeing an older shirtless man, whom she believed to be the child’s grandfather, come up behind her, and touch her lewdly.
The teacher also shared two screenshots she took of the incident to Officer Bagley, which Deputy District Attorney Sydne Jones presented to the court. The screenshots depicted a shirtless male on top of a child.
Officer Bagley then visited the victim’s home where he made contact with the grandfather of the victim, as well as the victim. He attempted to take a statement from the 10-year-old, but required assistance from her older sister.
However, Bagley told the court this became a problem because the sister changed the questions he was asking the victim. He said an example of this was when the sister asked the victim, “Grandpa didn’t really touch you, right?” He was unable to get a full accurate statement at the time.
Detective Kerie Wilson was called next and she was assigned to conduct follow up for the case. She spoke to witnesses to the incidents that occurred over the Zoom meeting.
The first incident occurred during the P.E. segment of the class while the student was doing pushups on the floor. The teacher had also noticed the same man show up on camera that past week and at various times, and the child would look visibly uncomfortable and try to push him away.
A parent educator during the class did not witness the first incident but was told about it, which led her to turn her attention especially toward the child’s Zoom square, where she observed some of the alleged sexual abuse. Another witness also testified to the events.
Detective Wilson spoke to the victim in her home’s garage, which was not the usual procedure but it was the only place the parents gave consent to for the interview. The child’s father had refused to take her to a safe center to be evaluated and had even refused to allow her to speak to the officers at all, but finally agreed to allow the interview to happen in their garage.
The child victim told the detective that during P.E. she was doing pushups and her grandpa walked up and touched her hair and was doing “a weird thing,” explaining it was “like a horse/horsey thing,” calling it weird and she felt frustrated while it was happening.
Detective Wilson asked if someone had told her what to say and she said yeah but continued to talk about something else. She then asked her to draw out what “the horse thingy” was and DDA Jones showed the court the drawings the victim had made.
During closing remarks Defense Attorney Kou Xiong argued against the submission of the photo evidence provided by prosecution, claiming it to be invalid because of the internet speed and quality of the teachers’ Wi-Fi.
His motion was overruled by Judge Laurie Earl, who found there to be enough evidence to find the suspect guilty and ordered for him to be held to answer in trial.