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Accuser testifies in Aguilar trial

POSTED: April 26, 2013 1:35 a.m.

The alleged victim testified Thursday in the trial of a Gainesville man accused of rape.

Testimony also included therapists and the family of the alleged victim.

Jose Luis Aguilar faces four counts of rape, two counts of aggravated child molestation, one count of aggravated sodomy and seven counts each of incest, aggravated sexual battery and child molestation.

During testimony in Hall County Superior Court, the now 14-year-old alleged victim often covered her face with her long, straight brown hair, and was hesitant to answer several questions.

She testified that the alleged molestation began on her ninth birthday, continuing every day for a week, sometimes more than once a week.

The teen appeared more comfortable at the start of cross-examination, standing up to sketch the layout of her house, and returned to the courtroom to listen to afternoon testimony, visibly more composed.

The alleged victim’s diagnosis as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder has been a point of emphasis for the prosecution.

The prosecution called as an expert witness a clinical psychologist who had evaluated the alleged victim. He said, based on assessment of her symptoms, she clinically scored levels of PTSD beyond the baseline for a soldier after combat.

He said PTSD is consistent with long-term sexual abuse.

Lindsay Burton, chief assistant district attorney for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, called Aguilar’s sister, Erika Aguilar, with whom the alleged victim lived in the aftermath of disclosing that she had been “touched” by Aguilar.

Burton asked why she didn’t call police immediately after the allegations, to which Erika Aguilar cited both a “bad feeling” about the allegations, and the child’s own objections.

The defense has emphasized the levels of privacy, or lack thereof, both in the house and in the room where the alleged molestation occurred before the family moved.

Erika Aguilar said that as the matriarch of the family, the Aguilar grandmother’s household saw a lot of traffic.

“My sister would visit, my brother would visit, nieces and nephews on the weekends,” she said.

The Aguilar family appeared emotionally spent after nearly a full day of testimony.

Erika Aguilar talked about the doors to the room where the alleged victim, her father and three brothers slept.

Demonstrating the saloonlike manner in which the doors opened elicited a light-hearted moment: Jurors and spectators laughed at a photo of defense attorney Travis Williams behind the door he submitted as evidence for the defense.

Based on her conversation with the defendant when the allegation was initially made, Erika Aguilar told Williams that she felt comfortable not calling the police.

But when an altercation between the alleged victim and her aunt broke out, police involvement prompted her brother’s arrest.

“We never blamed her. If I had blamed her, I would not have never kept her with us,” she said, in response to a suggestion that family members felt obligated to testify favorably for the defense. “I never said, ‘I believe you,’ or ‘I don’t believe you,’ but I never blamed her.”

Aguilar was born in Texas, moved to Gainesville, and returned in 2003 after spending several years in Mexico.

Williams, senior attorney at the public defender’s office, and co-counselor Clint Teston are representing Aguilar.

Superior Court Judge Fuller settled on a stopping point in cross-examination around 6:15 p.m.

Jurors will reconvene today at 9 a.m., with cross-examination of Erika Aguilar resuming.


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