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Attorneys Present Opening Statements in Santa Maria Child-Molestation Trial

A man charged with molesting a young girl told police that everything he did “was from the heart,” a prosecuting attorney told Santa Maria Superior Court jurors Friday during opening statements in the trial. The defense attorney blamed the allegations on a bad divorce.

Everardo Valdez, 28, of Santa Maria has been charged with five felony counts, including aggravated sexual assault, kidnap to commit rape, and lewd and lascivious acts. The allegations involve one victim, a female relative referred to in court as Jane Doe.

Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens said the incidents occurred while the girl was between ages 5 and 7 and at age 11. The defendant is 11 years older than the victim. Some of the alleged incidents occurred when he was a teen, and another took place when was an adult.

“What this case is about is, it’s about a guy who just basically took what he wanted from Jane Doe at his pleasure,” Jebens said.

In one instance, the defendant allegedly grabbed the girl after her shower and took her into his bedroom, where he locked the door and molested her.

When police talked to the suspect, he denied forcing the girl to have sex, reportedly saying, “ ‘No, I didn’t. Everything was from the heart,’ ” Jebens said. 

Valdez is accused of inserting his finger and penis in the girl’s vagina and performing oral sex on her.

“The evidence will show when you listen to the defendant’s statement that he gave to Detective (Cassandra) Stowasser that several times he tried to blame Jane Doe for what happened,” Jebens said. “He said, ‘I knew it was wrong, but Jane Doe was being flirty.’ ”

During the trial, Jebens said, jurors will hear the defendant’s recorded interviews with police.

“At the end of the trial, I’m going to ask you to find the defendant guilty of all charges,” Jebens added.

Defense attorney Adrian Andrade denied the allegations and said the defendant's interviews with police occurred while he was under the influence of marijuana.

“This is about a vicious divorce,” Andrade told jurors. 

He added that legal documents will show Jane Doe was not living at the home where police claimed she resided at the time of the incidents.

The allegations arose after the girl got into a fight with a relative, according to the defense attorney.

“There is anger in this family,” Andrade said.

He urged jurors to listen closely to details of the allegations.

“Words have meaning. One of the allegations is that it went from downstairs, falling asleep on the couch, and all of a sudden magically she’s upstairs in a bedroom,” Andrade said, adding, “Don’t leave your common sense outside.”

At the time of the alleged attacks, the girl no longer lived in the residence where police claim the incidents occurred, Andrade said.

“Listen to the facts, all of the facts,” Andrade said. “That’s what the judge asked you to do, to listen to all of the facts, all of the evidence, before you make up your mind. And when you evaluate it, use your common sense and I  think you will come to the conclusion Everado Valdez is not guilty.”

The first witness, the victim, began testifying late Friday afternoon. 

Judge John McGregor instructed jurors to return at 9:30 a.m. Monday for further testimony.

This marks the third consecutive child molestation trial held this year in McGregor's courtroom.

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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