Preliminary hearing begins for Modesto man accused of sex abuse

06/09/2014 5:49 PM

06/09/2014 7:08 PM

A woman testified Monday that a relative who was her baby sitter sexually abused her numerous times until she was 8 years old, including incidents that occurred after her family moved to Ceres.

Defendant Jeffrey Gene Anderson, 44, of Modesto is accused of molesting three children over the past two decades. The abuse is claimed to have taken place in Amador County in Ione starting in the early 1990s and continued in Stanislaus County in Ceres and Modesto.

Anderson’s preliminary hearing began Monday afternoon with testimony from the alleged victim, who is now 25.

She said Anderson lived with her family in Ione from when she was about 4 years old. He would baby-sit her and her younger sister while their parents were at work.

She testified that Anderson sexually molested her more than 30 times, starting when she was about 4. The Bee is not printing the woman’s name because she is believed to have been a sex abuse victim.

When Deputy District Attorney Merrill Hoult asked the woman if the defendant had sexually molested her more than 40 times, the woman answered, “Probably. It happened for numerous years.”

She said in court that she doesn’t remember the first time she was molested, “just being young and him touching me.” She said the abuse occurred when Anderson would drive her around in his car with her sitting in the front passenger seat.

“He started touching me and said, ‘Look out the window at all the pretty houses,’ ” she testified about her first recollections of the sexual abuse.

When she was about 6, her family moved to Ceres, where she said the abuse by Anderson continued. The defendant lived with her family in Ceres, as well.

“He told me that if I ever told anybody, he would kill me and my family,” the woman said in court about the defendant.

The woman said she didn’t tell her family about the abuse until she was 18. She said her parents wanted to notify police, but she told them not to. She finally spoke to police about a year ago.

During cross-examination by Hans Hjertonsson, the woman said she did not remember whether her younger sister was left home alone during the abuse. She also did not remember some of the details she gave a police detective.

“I don’t remember, certain things I blocked out,” the woman testified.

The Modesto Police Department Special Victims Unit started investigating Anderson in May 2012, when a teen believed to have been a victim started posting information on social media alluding to her abuse.

The teenager attempted suicide and then confided in counselors at her church and a volunteer at a suicide prevention hot line that she had been molested from the time she was a child until she was 14, according to Modesto police.

At the same time, others believed to have been victims who knew the girl and learned of detectives’ involvement in her case came forward to police.

Two others believed to have been victims are expected to testify in the preliminary hearing when it resumes June 16. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will determine whether the defendant should stand trial.

Anderson remains in custody at the Stanislaus County Men’s Jail with his bail set at $1.25 million.

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