Victim in Sexual Assault Case Takes Stand, ‘Still Terrified’ 2 Years after Alleged Attack

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By Amy Berberyan

RIVERSIDE, CA – In Riverside County Superior Court Friday, nearly two years after the alleged act, the trial of Cesar Valenzuela-Pelayo proceeded—he faces a charge of forcible sexual penetration with a foreign object.

And Friday, his alleged victim testified before the court to give her account of the incident, testifying, “Two years later, I’m still terrified. I go down the street and see a burgundy Chevy. I check the rims to see if it doesn’t have the pointy sticky thing that he had on his.”

The incident occurred around 4 a.m. after a party on Dec. 21, 2019.

Valenzuela-Pelayo, who was working for the victim’s mother, lived in the same building as the victim; the victim said he waited until the two were alone after a party to grab her from behind.

The victim said that he was trying to pull down her underwear with two hands for a brief moment, and afterwards “he was hugging [her] with one hand at all times” so she was not able to get away.

When asked about why she didn’t knee him in the crotch, the victim mentioned painful surgical scars she had been recovering from at the time. Given that Valenzuela-Pelayo was taller and stronger than her, defending herself in that way would have been impossible with the scar, the victim maintained.

After the incident, the victim did not call the police right away because she was afraid she would ruin Valenzuela-Pelayo’s life, and by proxy the lives of his girlfriend and children.

The victim stressed that all she wanted was to “never see him again.” As a result, she called her mother and told her what had happened.

“All I had asked her to do was to tell him to move out,” said the victim.

When she questioned her mother about what actions she had taken the next morning, her mother responded that she had done nothing because “she [needed] him to work on apartment 27.”

The victim urged her mother to hurry and tell him to leave because “every minute that goes by, [the victim looks more] like a liar.”

Her mother, whom the victim described as her “boss, not [her] mother,” said “don’t rush me” and hung up on her.

A short while later her mother called and said “Cesar said he didn’t do anything and you do what you gotta do.”

After hearing this, the victim called the police.

During the 911 call that was played in court, the victim could be heard telling the operator that the defendant “grabbed her crotch area” and penetrated her with his finger; she had also suffered scratches while fighting to break free.

“I’m still terrified,” the victim said in court. “I go outside and I’m looking like I’m going to get shot by a sniper. I’m still terrified.”

This case will resume on Monday, and is expected to be in the jury’s hands by Thursday.

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About The Author

Amy is a UCLA student majoring in English and Philosophy. She is interested in law and is from Burbank, California.

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