Minor Sex Crime Victim Testifies in Jury Trial that Stepfather Did ‘Inappropriate Things’

By Jake Romero, Mansour Taleb-Ahmed and Michele Chadwick

ALAMEDA, CA – The alleged minor victim of a sexual assault crime testified during a Tuesday morning jury trial in Alameda County Superior Court of Robert “Doe,” who has pleaded not guilty to charges of committing multiple felony sex crimes involving minors from 2017 through 2020.

*NOTE: To protect the identity of the victim the suspect’s true name is redacted, and “Doe” is being used.

Deputy District Attorney Amanda Chavez questioned the victim about the details of the alleged assault, the relationship that she had with the defendant, as well as her mother’s relationship.

The victim said she was about six years old when the accused began to come to her bedroom, and she would wake up because the accused would wake her up by poking her near her neck, and then he “started touching my body.”

After a break because the victim said she didn’t feel well, DDA Chavez asked how she felt about the questioning, and the alleged victim expressed that she was uncomfortable talking about it. However, Chavez asked her to do the best she could.

The victim said she didn’t tell anyone about what happened “[b]ecause he (Doe) told me…not to tell anyone.”

Chavez continued the questioning, and the victim said the attacks would occur from time to time and could sometimes happen in the mornings or nighttime. And it made her feel “not scared but like … nervous… I don’t know.”

Chavez then redirected her questions in regard to her mom’s reaction to the event, and the victim said her mother was upset and hit her when learning about what had happened.

The victim confirmed, when pressed by the DDA, that she had told the truth to the officer that came to her house and in her previous appearance in court.

Later, the victim said the suspect, who married her mother, was “[l]ike a father figure.” And that her exposure to sex for the first time was when she saw sex during an “adult film” he showed her.

The victim testified that she didn’t remember her statement to the police that said “my stepdad handed me his cell phone and it showed adults doing inappropriate things with each other and left to play videogames and I watched. Later on that same day he did it again and handed me his phone again with the same inappropriate things. Only this time he watched and I watched.”

As her testimony continued, she testified that Doe showed her both real people and cartoons doing inappropriate things, but showed her the “real people” first. And the suspect did “inappropriate things.”

Danny Barvia testified as a crime and intelligence analyst. He has experience with cell phone analysis and extractions.

In this case, he “took the extractions… and made a report.” Using Cellebrite and searching “porn,” he testified that he was able to find “eight results” on one of the phones. Additionally, he found porn accounts on one of the phones linked to the Doe’s emails, AppleID, and phone number.

Additionally, he checked Doe’s tablet and was able to do “a partial extraction.” However, he was unable to extract browser data through Cellebrite but manually went through the tablet with another officer.

During this manual search, they were unable to find the browser history. However, they did find evidence of porn. Barvia testified that they were able to find evidence “through the URL bar. We just tapped it and when we tapped it, it came up with Pornhub.”

Private defense attorney Christopher Lamiero pressed the victim witness about why she chose that moment to disclose the abuse.

“You thought that, instead of being mad at you, she’d be mad at (Doe), right?” asked Lamiero. “You didn’t think you’d be in trouble or get grounded, right?”

She admitted that, prior to being confronted by her mother, she was afraid of how much trouble she’d be in and had thought of how to get out of trouble.

Lamiero also asked about a separate incident when one of the victim’s uncles found notes in her backpack containing the usernames and passwords for email, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

The victim/witness said she had created and used these accounts on her own, as she had done when accessing the porn on her tablet.

She also confirmed that she posed as different teenage girls on the social media profiles and talked to various people, including older men. She said she cried when her uncle told her grandmother about the accounts because she knew she would be in trouble.

The defense emphasized that the victim did not tell her grandmother about (the sexual abuse) until she was confronted about the social media accounts.

“You’re there crying, afraid you’ll get in trouble, and you decide to tell her that your stepfather had been touching you, right?” Lamiero asked.

The defense highlighted early on that the witness frequently asked to take breaks during the questioning, during which she would talk with her mother—who testified on Monday—about how to answer questions on the stand.

Lamiero also asked that the record reflect the witness’ response time in answering his questions. She took anywhere from a minute to five minutes, sometimes after Lamiero rephrased a question multiple times, and often answered “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.”

The jury trial is ongoing.

About The Author

Jake is a senior at UC Berkeley studying English & Journalism.

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