Testimony is nearing its end in the trial of a former Modesto police sergeant accused of sexually abusing his daughter.
Robert Hodges, 42, is charged with seven felonies in connection with the alleged abuse. He also is charged with two misdemeanor counts of failing to comply with a court order not to contact the alleged victim or her immediate family.
The defendant testified at trial. When asked whether he ever sexually abused his 15-year-old daughter, Hodges answered, “No, absolutely not.”
He was emotional on the witness stand Thursday afternoon as he reviewed photos of his family on trips. Hodges, his ex-wife and their children appeared happy together in the photos, which were taken the same year the alleged victim says she confronted her parents about the alleged abuse and told police several months later.
The alleged victim, referred to in court as “Jane Doe,” has testified that Hodges sexually abused her over several months during her freshman year in high school.
Jane Doe testified that almost every time he was done abusing her, Hodges would apologize and tell her it was a mistake. She said he told her that if anyone ever found out a police officer was sexually abusing his daughter, people would think she was weird and he would lose his job.
She notified police Oct. 22, 2012, two years after the alleged abuse stopped. Modesto police Detective Martha Delgado arranged for Jane Doe to call Hodges. The phone call was recorded and the audio has been played for the jury.
During the phone call, Hodges promised her he was never going to do anything to harm her, and he suggested to her that she not say anything to authorities.
On Thursday, Hodges testified that he was just pacifying his daughter during the phone call. He said he decided not to deny the abuse allegation during the phone call, because denying it would cause her to call police.
In the phone call, Hodges told her, “You know what happens if you say anything like that, right?” He went on to tell her, “I go away, if convicted, I go away to prison, which I will be convicted, I go away to prison for the next 30 years. I’m 40 years old and that means by the time I’m out, I’ll be about 70. ... I would go behind bars and you would never, ever see me again.”
Hodges testified that he was talking about how the allegation alone would be enough to ruin his life. “I know from these accusations, from my experience in law enforcement,” he said on the witness stand.
On Friday, Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff asked the jury to return Monday for testimony from a final witness who was not available to appear in court until next week. The prosecution plans to call to the witness stand a child sexual abuse expert to provide rebuttal testimony.
Once testimony ends, the judge will provide instructions to the jury before the attorneys give their closing arguments.