By Alex Jimenez and Isabelle Brady
DUBLIN, CA– The alleged victim’s mother testified here in Alameda County Superior Court Thursday in the jury trial of Demarco Ayers, who is charged with continuous sexual abuse and specific allegations of sexual offenses with a minor under 10 years old.
The minor in question is his former stepdaughter, who was referred to exclusively as “Jane Doe” in court.
Jane Doe’s mother’s testimony was the most notable of the testimony the jury heard, taking up the entire afternoon session of court.
Her testimony began with establishing when she moved out of the house that she shared with Ayers. She said she left him in February of 2020 when she learned he had been cheating on her, though “it was around the end of January that everything came out.”
During cross-examination, Doe’s mother said that she had found her husband’s mistress and had a heated exchange with her at a Macy’s on Valentine’s Day of 2020.
She denied having used “foul and sexual language,” to use the defense attorney’s words, toward the other woman, although she said she had been upset during the confrontation and they exchanged words about Ayers in front of her children.
On June 23, 2020, Doe’s mother became aware that Doe was watching something inappropriate on her Kindle tablet.
“I came home from work,” Doe’s mother said. Her two kids were at home because of COVID, doing school under the supervision of her cousin.
The cousin told her that “something” had happened with Doe. Upon hearing that, Doe’s mother said, “I grabbed the tablet and went to…confront her.”
When Doe’s mother walked into the room where Doe was, she asked what Doe had been watching. Doe was crying, and “didn’t want to tell me…I was giving her a chance to tell me.
“After going back and forth with her, asking her what was on the tablet, I decided to open the tablet…there was a lot of porn websites open.”
Doe was crying, her mother said. “She was crying and she was scared. She just kept saying ‘I’m sorry mom.’”
When Doe’s mother saw all those websites open, she hit Doe with a chancla (a sandal) three times. Then she said she thought, “Why am I hitting her? She’s a child, she shouldn’t be watching this, who is teaching her this?”
After that, Doe’s mother assured Doe that no one would get in trouble and said that she needed to know what was going on.
Doe told her mother that it was her “dad” who showed her the websites. Doe did not know at the time that Ayers was not her biological father.
According to Doe’s mother, she did not suggest to Doe that it was Ayer who showed her the websites, noting, “She told me herself that it was him.”
Later, during cross-examination, Ayers’ defense attorney asked if she remembered telling the prosecutor and Investigator Nicole Jennings that she “asked Jane Doe if it was her dad that showed her the websites.”
“So you did ask if it was her dad, correct?”
“Correct,” Doe’s mother said. But she denied being the first person to suggest to Doe that it had been her dad to show her the websites. Doe’s mother monitored the Kindle tablet that the porn websites were on. Doe brought the tablet with her to Ayers’ house on the weekends she visited.
After her interaction with Doe on June 23, Doe’s mother called Ayers, and then the police. She showed the police the tablet but they did not take it with them. Later, Doe’s mother gave the tablet to an investigator involved with the case.
When asked about how she felt about Ayers, Doe’s mother said she felt “upset, mad, betrayed,” adding, “I can’t wait for him to die.”
During the morning session of the trial, Dr. Blake Donald Carmichael, who is a clinical psychologist at UC Davis and an expert in the field of child maltreatment, according to his bio, was asked to testify before the court.
According to Dr. Carmichael, child sexual abusive accommodation syndrome (CSAS) is an educational tool to help better understand kids who have been sexually abused.
“Child sexual abuse occurs in the context of a relationship and not just the physical acts,” said Dr. Carmichael, who further elaborated that CSAS sets out to explain the relationship between the child victim and perpetrator.
There are five components to CSAS, listed as “helplessness; entrapment; accommodation; delayed and unconvincing disclosure of the abuse; and, finally, a retraction of the complaint in the face of the usual adult disbelief and blame of the victim.
According to Dr. Carmichael, a child could be coerced into secrecy by the perpetrator, and the feeling of helplessness stems from feeling that an adult won’t believe their story if they were to reach out.
Pediatrician Dr. James E. Crawford was the next expert witness to testify. Dr. Crawford specializes in evaluating child abuse and physically examined the victim in March of 2020. The doctor went through the procedure in which they evaluate child victims including a physical and interview.
DR. Crawford confirmed to the courts that he had examined a nine-year-old girl “who had disclosed inappropriate sexual contact by an adult”—he had performed a full examination but did not conduct a verbal interview.
Chavez asked if the findings of the examination were inconsistent or consistent with the allegations of sexual abuse, and he said, “They are 100 percent consistent with the statement of sexual abuse in the past.”