On the second day of a jury trial of a Fairield man accused of sexually assaulting four young sisters and other alleged sex crimes that date back to 1998, the prosecutor asked a witness how many times the defendant piled books on her outstretched hands as punishment, forcing her to urinate on herself.
Deputy District Attorney Kathleen McBride, who leads the prosecution against Venancio Dizon De Guzman Jr., now 49, also asked the witness on Wednesday if she could recall the number of times he asked the then-young girl to sit on his lap.
"Countless," she said on the witness stand in Department 9 of Solano County Superior Court in Fairfield but added that she was unsure of the number.
Earlier in the morning, Deputy Public Defender Pamela Boskin, one of two attorneys representing De Guzman, cross-examined the same witness, who appeared to struggle to answer her questions and recall details of the allegations against her client.
During the first portion of the afternoon session in Judge Carlos R. Gutierrez's courtroom, a second witness testified that she had been struck by De Guzman, and in one instance her face was bruised and she chose not to attend school.
"He'd strike us a lot with his belt," she told McBride, adding that the punishment would leave welts "all over" their bodies.
And did she ever see De Guzman strike her mother?
"He'd slap her a lot" behind closed doors, she replied.
As she grew a little older, no more than 11 or 12, she remembered the defendant "groping me, grabbing my hips." It was also common," she added, for her to sit on his lap but against her will.
She also recounted times when De Guzman allegedly fondled her sometimes in the mornings, including touching her breasts and in her "vaginal area," but also at night. She estimated that she was no more than 10 years old at the time.
The witness also testified that the defendant would sometimes "be touching himself, touching his penis ... a lot of times" during those encounters.
She further testified about the first time De Guzman "tried to have intercourse with me" and, when he succeeded, "It hurt." Those attempts continued, for at least two other times, she added.
The trial continues at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Justice Center in Fairfield.
In her opening statement Friday, McBride said that De Guzman was "a father figure, and it wasn't long before he became the abuser."
She asserted that De Guzman, charged with 22 felony counts, tended to abuse the girls, including having sexual intercourse, when they were between the ages of 9 and 13. She said he raped one girl "on countless occasions" and sometimes slapped her before the rapes occurred.
McBride noted the crimes occurred early in the morning and on weekends. And as De Guzman began to molest the other sisters, "They never told anyone about it until many years later," she added.
Eventually, one of the girls realized what had happened was wrong, but she also did not tell anyone until much later, McBride said.
And to a fourth child, the girl "at first she thought it was normal ... behavior," she told the panel of 12 men and women and four alternate jurors.
At the outset of her statement, Deputy Public Defender Denisse E. Tanasa, the other defense attorney, appeared to imply that the girls' motivation to inform authorities was essentially to frame him because they didn't like him.
"The sisters hated Mr. De Guzman," she said.
McBride called her first witness, the oldest of four daughters, now 32.
The witness also recalled how the defendant allegedly pulled down her pants in one instance and bruised her, adding that she was 9 when the molestations began.
"A lot" of the molestations occurred in the morning and that she would wake up "and he'd be touching me," she recalled.
"When did he stop?" asked McBride.
In high school, but she admitted that she was unsure exactly what grade she was in at the time, then appeared to tear up at the memory and wiped her eyes with a tissue.
Arrested in October 2018, De Guzman has pleaded not guilty to the charges, including engaging in three or more acts of substantial sexual conduct with children under 14; aggravated assault of a child under 14; forcible rape; forcible oral copulation; and continued sexual abuse of a child.
According to court records, investigators believe one child was younger than 10 when authorities suspected De Guzman began sexually assaulting her in 1998 or 1999, and the assaults continued until 2004.
Another child, younger than 14 at the time, claims De Guzman repeatedly committed lewd acts on her between 2002 and 2006. Still another child told investigators that she was sexually assaulted by the defendant beginning in 2001, when she was younger than 10, and the assaults also continued to 2004.
The most recent claims of sexual assault were expressed by a child who said that De Guzman continuously sexually assaulted her starting in 2009 and until 2012.
The Solano County District Attorney's Office filed its complaint on Oct. 16, 2018. The defendant was held to answer for the charges on April 29, 2019.
De Guzman remains in Solano County Jail, at the Claybank Detention Facility, with bail set at $2.5 million.
If convicted of all charges at trial, he could be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in state prison.