During closing arguments Monday in the case against a former Modesto police sergeant, the defense showed the jury photographs of him posing with his smiling teenage daughter taken in the months before she accused him of sexually abusing her.
They are depicted at a Giants game and during family vacations after the alleged victim’s freshman year of high school, when said Robert Hodges began abusing her and before she reported it to police a year and a half later on Oct. 22, 2012.
“The fact that there are pictures of the victim happy with her family is not inconsistent with someone who has been abused,” said Deputy District Attorney Annette Rees.
She said dissociation is a common coping method for victims of sexual assault.
Hodges, 42, is charged with seven felonies, including unlawful sex with a minor, sexual penetration with a foreign object and lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 16 years old.
Both Hodges and his daughter testified during the weeklong trial.
The alleged victim, referred to in Stanislaus Superior Court as Jane Doe, testified that the abuse started when she was home sick one day and Hodges began groping her, then used his hand to molest her.
She said similar incidents occurred once or twice a month over the course of several months. The abuse eventually progressed to sexual intercourse, she testified.
Hodges’ defense attorney Kirk McAllister has argued that his client is innocent and the allegations came as a result of a heated separation between Hodges and his ex-wife.
He said Jane Doe first discussed the alleged abuse when she became angry that her father forbade her to date 20-year-old man and took away her cell phone. “When she’s mad seems to be when these things come out,” McAllister said.
The result, the attorney said, was that her parents relented and let her date the man.
He questioned why, after the alleged abuse first came to her attention, Hodges’ ex-wife continued to live with him and waited more than 10 months to take her daughter to police.
After a restraining order was filed against Hodges following the police report, McAllister said Jane Doe made statements that she was happier, felt she had more freedom and was less controlled.
“Her mother is more permissive,” he said. “This is a tale told and retold when parents get divorced. Who do the children want to go with? The more permissive parent.”
In her rebuttal, Rees said the suggestion the alleged victim would lie for her benefit and and to aid in mother’s side of the divorce is “nonsense.”
“There’s no grand conspiracy here,” Rees said. “You watched Jane Doe testify. You watched her sob as she described what her father did to her. … This is not television, this is not a reality show, this is real life”
The jury began deliberating at the end of the day Monday and will return to court Wednesday.