A Merced man accused of raping a 13-year-old girl last year will stand trial, a judge decided this week.
Raymond Dean Thompson, 31, allegedly assaulted the girl during the early morning hours of Nov. 1 in her Merced apartment.
He's being charged with several felony counts, including rape, sodomy with force and committing a lewd act upon a child.
After hearing testimony from the victim during a preliminary hearing Monday, Superior Court Judge Marc Garcia decided that ample evidence exists to try Thompson.
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Thompson has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denies committing the assault.
Thompson was taken into custody by Merced police the same morning the alleged rape happened.
Police said the victim's father, who knew Thompson, had confronted him shortly before 4 a.m. in the 1800 block of Merced Avenue, and a fight broke out between them.
The father learned about the alleged rape after the girl had confided in a neighbor, police said.
Detectives believe Thompson knew the victim's family.
Deputy District Attorney Rob Carroll said a sock and part of a bed mattress were submitted to a Department of Justice lab as part of the investigation.
Carroll acknowledged, however, that no DNA evidence was found.
Regardless, Carroll said he's confident the allegations against Thompson are true.
"She identified this defendant, and I believe her. And I know we have the right person," Carroll said. "People have to remember that you're only going to have DNA evidence if the criminal leaves it behind. And it doesn't always happen that way."
The victim's medical records were not part of Monday's hearing and Carroll declined commenting about them before trial.
Jeffrey Tenenbaum, Thompson's attorney, said, "He feels bad for her, but he didn't do it," Tenenbaum said.
Thompson has previously served time in prison for assault with a deadly weapon.
His next court hearing is scheduled for March 8. He remains at the John Latorraca Correctional Center in lieu of $250,000 bail.
Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.