By Amy Berberyan
RIVERSIDE, CA – During a man’s jury trial last week in Riverside County Superior Court for abusing and sexually assaulting his step-daughter, two witnesses testified.
The man (who is not being identified to protect the privacy of the alleged victim) is currently facing multiple felony charges for engaging in sexual activities with a minor under 10 years old, rape, sexual penetration with a minor under 14 that results in great bodily injury, and lewd act with a minor over 10 and under 15.
Deputy District Attorney Jessica Roundy addressed the first witness—an officer—who had interviewed the alleged victim twice.
The victim told the officer she had been sexually abused multiple times between a period of six to nine years of age, and then again between 11 and 15 years of age.
Deputy Public Defender Greg Roach stressed the importance of medical records “if they’re available” in sexual assault cases. Though the victim, at six years old, had gone to the hospital for five days because of bloody wounds, the officer testifying claimed not to have those records.
The line of questioning then turned to the accused’s aggressiveness. The witness was unable to recall if the victim had told her the man had hit her with a belt, a vine, or a different hard object.
DPD Roach questioned whether the stepfather had threatened the victim through text, but the witness said she could not understand the texts because they were in Spanish. She added that investigators fluent in Spanish had continued with the case.
DDA Roundy asked whether the officer knew if statements of a sexual nature were via text message. The witness claimed any threatening comments were “verbal” and could not be found in the text messages.
After the witness was excused, the second one—Investigator Gabriel Gil—testified that, as a fluent Spanish speaker, he was asked to work on this case because the suspect only spoke Spanish.
The victim’s “pretext” phone call—which involves the alleged victim calling the suspect in a recorded call with investigators present—was entirely in Spanish, though the jury had translations in front of them.
When the victim, on the call, asked the accused what he missed about her body, he told her he would get her a coupon from Victoria’s Secret to buy her lingerie. He planned to allow her to have her cell phone that evening so she could record herself as she showered and send the video to him.
The witness said the accused became suspicious, and said he was concerned about being recorded, claiming, “I don’t want you recording me. I have a feeling you are recording me.” He added, “Is your mom putting you up to this?” and, “I don’t want to go to jail. Are you recording me?”
The first call ended because the man had wanted proof the victim was at school instead of with her mom or the police. The second call occurred after she sent a photo.
Investigator Gil said the man said he wanted additional sexual photos “of her body” and claimed that she “already [knew] the type of photos that [he liked].”
When the victim asked if he would take her to the hotel, he said yes. He also agreed to perform sex at a slower pace because he had hurt her last time.
Investigator Gil agreed that the defendant had never sounded surprised during the phone call.
After the original phone call had ended, Investigator Gil had two additional investigators contact the man and transport him to the sheriff’s station for an interview.