Trial Begins for Man Accused of Sex Assaults on 5 Girls, 1 Boy in La Habra

Cinematic Close Up Footage of a Handcuffed Convict at a Law and Justice Court Trial. Handcuffs on Accused Criminal in Orange Jail Jumpsuit. Law Offender Sentenced to Serve Jail Time.

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SANTA ANA (CNS) - A 42-year-old man sexually assaulted five girls and one boy, half of whom he is related to, over about eight years in Chino Hills and La Habra, a prosecutor told jurors today while the defendant's attorney said her client is innocent and the victims were ``harmed'' by someone else.

Wesley Gerardo Estrada is charged with four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, rape of an unconscious person, a count of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor younger than 14, two counts of forcible lewd acts on a child and a count of attempted rape while a person is unconscious, all felonies. Estrada also faces sentencing enhancements for multiple victims. Estrada was one of 11 siblings in a ``family filled with deceit,'' Deputy District Attorney Sean Riordan said.

Three of the victims were the daughters of the defendant's brother's girlfriend at the time, Riordan said. He is related to two other girls and a boy, who is an alleged victim Estrada has not been charged with, but will be considered by jurors as evidence in the trial, Riordan said. Estrada ``would seek (the alleged victims) out, would find the mother with young children, befriend them, and take them places,'' Riordan said. In one of the cases, one girl woke up in a Chino Hills garage, where she was living with the defendant, ``with the defendant sexually assaulting her,'' Riordan said. ``She screamed for help, but no one was there to help her.'' The girl, who was 11 at the time, had emigrated from Guatemala, police testified during the defendant's preliminary hearing. Another girl also ``woke up to the defendant on top of her naked,'' Riordan alleged.

Estrada is accused of ``sodomizing'' the boy and getting him to commit sex acts on other underage girls he is related to, Riordan alleged. In one case, he was accused of attempting to sexually assault one girl, but when she woke up she screamed and he ran away, Riordan alleged. Jody Ward, a clinical psychologist, is expected to testify about Child Abuse Accommodation Syndrome, Riordan said. She will discuss why children who are sexually abused delay reporting it to parents or authorities, Riordan said. ``At the end of the day this case is about a defendant and the acts he inflicted on five girls,'' Riordan said.

Estrada's attorney, Jennifer Ryan of the Orange County Public Defender's Office, said, ``This case is about the Estrada family. It's a case about damaged people.'' Ryan added, ``You will learn this harm is not caused by Mr. Estrada... They were damaged and harmed by other individuals. He sits here accused of crimes he did not commit.'' Ryan said three of the girls were upset with their mother, who ``was at times an absentee mom,'' Ryan said. ``each of them was upset with their mom for being absentee, for not paying attention to them. ... Wesley is collateral damage.'' The mother of the three girls testified that she met Estrada's brother, David, when she was moving into an apartment complex in Whittier in 2000. David Estrada, who lived next door, offered to help carry in her possession to her new home, she testified.

The woman and her daughters moved to La Habra and lived in an apartment building there for a few years before moving into a house in about 2003 or 2004, she said. Wesley Estrada would often call her, saying he and his family were going to a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant and asking if the girls could go with them, she testified.

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