By Alexa Kendell
RIVERSIDE, CA – A trial here in Riverside County Superior Court Thursday focused on a young girl’s allegations that her uncle, Vincente “XXXX” repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted her for years.
(Note: the Vanguard is not publishing the defendant’s real name to protect the identity of the victim)
This victim stated she was raped multiple times by XXXX as a child. She recalled such incidents taking place at multiple houses and in various bedrooms over multiple years. She also claims that XXXX had asked her to send explicit photos of her chest and private areas.
Defense attorney Gregory Rollins strategically went over small details with the victim, such as hand placement of her uncle during the events, which bed it occurred in, and the color of the defendant’s underwear.
“He had his hands on my shoulders. Not all of it, but like half of it,” the victim stated.
“So, both of his hands were on both of your shoulders … but only a portion of his hands were on your shoulders, is that what you’re saying?” said the defense, and she responded in the affirmative.
The victim mostly focused on two incidents, each taking place at two houses in which she had lived in, Harrington Street* and Daring Street*. (*Street names have been changed for security purposes).
“So it is fair to say that the first incident at [Harrington], your house at [Harrington] St., that you don’t remember, you don’t have a picture in your mind of what happened? Is that accurate?” attorney Rollins asked.
Rollins focused on an angle that made the victim seem unsure of many of the important parts of the testimony, such as where and when the events took place. He also asked the defendant which bed, hers or her brother’s, one of the incidents had taken place in.
The victim had asked the prosecutor to be asked about the incident on Harrington St. in which she stated she “was in her brother’s bed, not [hers]. When asked directly after if the first incident had taken place on her brother’s bed, to assure the jury of her statement, she stated she did not remember.
Rollins then asked if and how she was able to see her uncle raping her. She explained that at first she looked down while lying on a bed, but felt terrified and turned her head to the side. He then asked how she was able to see Mr. XXXX’s actions if she had been forced down by her shoulders.
“I lifted my head at one point, but then I stopped looking,” the victim said.
The prosecutor, Cormac Kehoe, was then given the chance for a redirect examination. He began by asking how the defendant felt, to which she replied that she was “nervous, anxious … and very tired.”
In an attempt to reassure her credibility, Kehoe asked her directly if she had been lying about any of her statements, and she said “No.”
Kehoe also addressed items she couldn’t remember, like which bed the acts took place on and the color of his underwear:
“Are you lying about it, though?” Kehoe asked, and the victim answered “No.”
These are questions that Kehoe brought up multiple times throughout his redirect as a means of reassuring the jury that she was telling the truth.
The victim, after relentless questioning by the defense, admitted she was “more comfortable talking about” what happened with the prosecutor than the defense attorney, to which defense counsel Rollins then asked, “So in terms of talking with me, you can’t be 100 percent truthful?”
After a long pause, she affirmed his statement. This led Collins to making a motion to strike her entire testimony based on the fact that she admitted she could not be completely honest with him when asking her questions about the incidents at hand.
DDA Kehoe was given another opportunity to examine the victim, but only asked again if she had been truthful in the entire testimony, to which she replied “yes” every time.
The trial is set to reconvene Aug. 6.