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Man, 38, On Trial For Christmas Eve Sex Assault Against Young Girl, 8

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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SANTA ANA (CBS) — A 38-year-old man is on trial for allegedly raping an 8-year-old girl he is related to.

Deputy Public Defender Charles Hasse told jurors in opening statements of his client’s trial that Gallegos may have sexually assaulted the girl and the victim may have contracted chlamydia from someone else.

Gallegos and the girl were watching television the evening of Christmas Eve in 2009 when he put his hand down her pants, Deputy District Attorney Mark Birney alleged. Then he told her to go to the kitchen, where he performed oral sex on her and then raped her, Birney alleged.

His live-in girlfriend, who was in the bedroom of the Santa Ana apartment, noticed the television wasn’t on anymore and went to the kitchen to see what was happening, Birney said. When she saw what Gallegos was allegedly doing, she grabbed a bottle and tried to hit him, Birney said.

Gallegos warned the woman to not call police or he would kill her, Birney said, adding that Gallegos ripped the telephone out of the wall and left.

Police found Gallegos nearby at a Christmas party that night and arrested him, Birney said.

A nurse was expected to testify the girl suffered a vaginal tear and that physicians also discovered she had the sexually transmitted disease, “which was her Christmas gift” from Gallegos, Birney said.

Hasse said “this is a very, very tough case,” and that he expected the evidence to show his client “touched her sexually,” but did not rape her.

“There’s no evidence Mr. Gallegos has chlamydia,” Hasse said.

Gallegos is also accused of sexually assaulting the girl another time between September and December of 2009.

He is charged with three felony counts of oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child and a felony count each of sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child, lewd acts on a child younger than 14, and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime. He also faces sentencing enhancement allegations for substantial sexual conduct with a child.

Gallegos could face life in prison if convicted.

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