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Local News

Alleged Victims Testify in Orcutt Man’s Child-Molestation Trial

A 15-year-old girl testified Wednesday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court about seeing a male relative — an Orcutt man — molest her sister in addition to being sexually assaulted herself.

Hans Jorgen Kardel, 84, has been charged with two counts of sexual penetration with a child under 10, two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a minor, and three counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child. 

He also has been charged with counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object and attempting to dissuade a victim, in addition to an allegation the crime involved more than one victim.

The criminal complaint alleges the incidents occurred between 2005 and 2015.

Deputy District Attorney Fabiana Fede called the two victims, referred to in court as Jane Doe No. 1 and Jane Doe No. 2, among the first witnesses.

Jane Doe No. 1, 15, claimed she saw one instance of inappropriate touching involving Kardel and Jane Doe No. 2.

Jane Doe No. 2, now 18 years old, testified about inappropriate touching that allegedly began when she was in the third grade.

“He started tickling me and then he would start putting his hand down my pants and under my underwear and touching my vagina,” she said. 

Asked by Fede how many times the man touched her in appropriately, the victim answered, “it was probably over 50 times.”

In another instance, the man and girl would go to get firewood for a family barbecue, entering a shed where the defendant lifted up her shirt and looked at her breasts before putting his mouth on them.

During a different incident, the man had the girl rub his penis leading to ejaculation. 

“He told me it hadn’t happened for years,” she said.

The victim testified she was afraid to say anything and only admitted what happened when asked by her mom. 

During cross examination, defense attorney Catherine Swysen asked the girl why she didn’t tell the woman conducting the forensic interview about the allegations that the molestations occurred 50 times.

“I know I told her more than seven times” Jane Doe No. 2 said. 

Swysen also pressed the witness about why she didn’t tell the interviewer about the man not wearing underwear during one incident where he removed his shorts or that he ejaculated another time.

In her opening statement, Swysen said the family members have had complicated relationships partially stemming from tensions created by financial matters.

In a pretext call arranged through law enforcement officers, Kardel was ill and denied anything inappropriate happened between him and Jane Doe No. 1, Swysen said, calling the accusations false.

“As far as Jane Doe No. 2, it’s nothing like what you have heard described. It’s nothing like digital penetration,” Swysen said.

She also urged the jurors to pay attention to the timeline, noting the girls’ mother had told them many times to speak up about inappropriate touching yet the incidents were reported years later.

“Timing and dates matter in this case,” the defense attorney said. 

Testimony in the trial in Judge John McGregor’s courtroom will resume at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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