A young man testified in Stanislaus Superior Court on Friday about an incident several years ago in junior high school involving an alleged victim in a Modesto sexual abuse case.
James Gomes has no involvement in the sexual abuse allegations. It appears his testimony is being presented to the jury to challenge the credibility of the alleged victim.
Francisco “Frank” Jose Drumond, a former Modesto Junior College instructor and police officer, is on trial, facing two counts of committing lewd acts with a child. He is accused of sexually molesting two underage girls who were friends of his daughter. They are referred to in court as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2.
Frank Carson, Drumond’s defense attorney, has told the jurors that the stories from the girls have continued to change since his client was arrested in 2009. He also has claimed that both alleged victims have made false accusations against other people.
Gomes testified Friday afternoon about a playground incident at Roosevelt Junior High when he was 12 or 13 years old. He said a group of kids was pushing and shoving on a balance beam, and Jane Doe 1 fell and was injured.
He told the jury that Jane Doe 1 blamed him for her fall. “Tried to get me in trouble or something like that,” he said.
Jane Doe 1 has testified that she did not make a false accusation against Gomes. She also denied admitting to a school principal that she lied about the balance beam incident.
Gomes also testified that he once saw Jane Doe 1’s father become “very angry” after spotting his daughter hugging her boyfriend on campus after school. He said the father separated the couple before leaving with his daughter.
After the balance beam incident, Jane Doe 1’s father called Gomes’ father, Wendell Gomes, who also testified Friday afternoon. Wendell Gomes said the girl’s father sounded “outraged” on the phone and demanded the Gomes family pay for his daughter’s medical bills.
“He even mentioned he would come after our house, financially,” Wendell Gomes told the jury.
He said his son never was punished at school for the balance beam incident, and he was satisfied that the boy was not responsible for Jane Doe 1’s injury.
During cross-examination, Wendell Gomes said the girl’s family never sued him and his family, and he was not forced to pay her medical bills.
Testimony Friday also focused on a document written by Modesto police Sgt. Steven Stanfield, who was a detective in summer 2009 and the lead investigator in the sexual abuse case. The probable-cause document was written in support of an arrest warrant for Drumond.
In the document, Stanfield wrote that the allegations against Drumond had been verified.
Stanfield told the jury that the girls’ stories were consistent with what they initially told police, and some details Jane Doe 2 provided were corroborated by Jane Doe 1.
“I hadn’t any other verification,” Stanfield said during cross-examination. He told the jury he didn’t have any forensic evidence, such as DNA; any confirmed text messages to or from the alleged victims; or a search of Drumond’s home.
The investigator said he looked into department records to determine whether the girls ever before had made similar allegations against other people. But Stanfield testified he didn’t ask the girls if they ever had made similar allegations.
The defense attorney has told the jury that Jane Doe 2 once falsely accused a youth pastor at her church of sexual misconduct.
Deputy District Attorney Beth O’Hara De Jong has argued in court that Jane Doe 2 was called into a meeting at the church about swirling gossip, but the girl never made accusations of sexual misconduct. The girl simply said the youth pastor seemed creepy, according to De Jong.