Sisters testify in molestation case

May 01, 2002|By MARIO RENTERÍA

Staff Writer

Witnesses continued to testify against a 45-year-old man accused of five counts of lewd acts with a minor under 14 years old.

Deputy District Attorney Deborah Owen called more witnesses Tuesday in the trial of U.S. Border Patrol agent Joseph Socorro Olvera.

Those who were called included two of the alleged 11-year-old victim's sisters, a 13-year-old and a 21-year-old.

The 21-year-old testified about the afternoon of July 11, 2001, when her then 9-year-old sister told her what Olvera had been doing to her.

The 21-year-old sister told jurors she came home in the afternoon from adult English classes she was taking.

She then went to a friend's house and stayed there for a while. Olvera was at her mother's residence with her mother and her other sisters when she left.


A while later one of the sisters called her at the friend's house asking her to come home. She was told over the phone that Olvera had been sexually molesting her sister so she went home.

When she arrived home Olvera was gone. She went to speak to her sister, the alleged victim, who slowly broke down, hugged her and cried, the older sister testified.

As she spoke of the day's events in court the 21-year-old started crying. Her voice quavered, making it hard for the interpreter and those in the courtroom to hear her.

She would occasionally glance at Olvera, who calmly listened to her testify.

Olvera's attorney, Thomas Storey of El Centro, cross-examined her.

"What do you think of Mr. Olvera?" Storey asked the woman.

She replied, "He's just like anybody else to me."

Storey tried to demonstrate to jurors that she didn't like Olvera from the beginning of his relationship with her mother. The woman told jurors she didn't dislike him personally at the time, she simply disagreed with her mother dating a married man.

The 13-year-old sister recounted on the witness stand many of the same events as her older sister.

Another witness was county Coroner Investigator Sgt. Rick Macken, who was called to testify because of his expertise in child abuse.

After police were called the night of July 11, 2001, El Centro police Detective Angie Cuevas was given the case. Cuevas determined there was no need to do a physical examination of the girl because it was likely no evidence would be found.

She stated examiners have about 72 hours after the last incident to find any trauma in a female's reproductive organ, since the tissue starts to heal quickly. Cuevas said she did not see any point in putting the girl through another traumatic event since the last incident was well over 72 hours before police were called.

Macken was brought as a witness by prosecution to support Cuevas' decision not to put the girl through the grueling examination.

Storey argued if there were repeated events it would likely cause damage.

Macken said he was correct if the incidents were repeated but not if it were two or three times a month for several years.

The mother, who testified Monday afternoon, told jurors she met Olvera in November 1993 when he and other U.S. Border Patrol agents checked her home.

According to the mother, Border Patrol agents had received word undocumented immigrants were living in her home. The only undocumented immigrant in her home was her then 18-year-old daughter.

The daughter was taken away by agents but was returned soon after. The mother and her other five daughters and two sons were all living in the U.S. with proper permits.

The mother did not see Olvera until December 1993 when he came back to her house and asked her out to dinner.

Even though she knew he was married, their relationship lasted until July 11, 2001, when her daughters told her Olvera was doing something bad to their then 9-year-old sister.

The girl testified Friday and Monday that Olvera molested her, although they did not have intercourse.

Owen has finished calling prosecution witnesses. The defense is scheduled to begin calling witnesses this morning. Olvera was scheduled to testify Tuesday afternoon but his testimony was moved to this morning. Olvera's wife also will testify for the defense.

>>Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3441.

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