Testimony: Alleged victim says suspect molested her during back rubs

Miguel Lopez (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Miguel Lopez (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - During the first day of a jury trial for a 33-year-old Lufkin man, the victim, who was 11 at the time of the alleged assaults, said that Miguel Ramos Lopez would perform sexual acts on her when she was giving him back rubs. She also said he watched her while she showered.

Lopez appeared in Angelina County's 217th Judicial District Court Wednesday morning and pleaded not guilty to three counts of indecency with a child and one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

According to an arrest affidavit, the alleged victim, 11, told counselors at Harold's House that Lopez touched her inappropriately three times in October 2011. The alleged victim also said Lopez would watch her take showers. She said she would lock the bathroom door, but Lopez would find a key, open the door, pull back the shower curtain and watch her shower. Lufkin Police officers arrested Lopez at his place of work in April 2012.

The alleged victim said the abuse occurred from October 2011 to March 2012, but prosecutors stated the abuse actually happened from December 15, 2011 to March 31, 2012. The alleged victim told counselors that she got tired of the abuse and decided to tell a relative.

Prosecutor Layne Thompson started his deliberations by telling the jurors about the alleged victim and her family. Thompson said Lopez would ask the alleged victim if she would give him back rubs after dinner.

During the back rubs, Lopez would ask the alleged victim to sit on his lap and that is when he would sexually abuse and assault her. Thompson said Lopez would ask the alleged victim if she liked what he was doing, in which she would respond "no."

The defense attorney, Rudy Velasquez, started his opening arguments by saying that Lopez was nothing more than "a simple man. He's been a painter his whole life."

Velasquez said that there was no cooperative evidence in this case and this case would boil down to a "he said, she said" scenario. He also said that he is confident that jurors will find Lopez not guilty.

The state called the alleged victim to the stand as a witness. The alleged victim said she normally took a shower before dinner. She told Thompson she always closed and locked the bathroom door when she showered. Lopez came in one time and told her she was "wasting shampoo," and that she "needed to hurry up," according to alleged victim. She said she thought his behavior was "weird."

She said after dinner Lopez would ask her to rub his back. She said Lopez would sometimes nibble her neck and wrap her legs around his waist during the back rubs. She said he would perform sexual acts on her while she would give him back rubs. She said it made her feel "uncomfortable" and "awkward."

The alleged victim said the abuse would occur once every two weeks for several months and that Lopez would only do it when there was no one around. She said she does not know the exact number of times that Lopez touched her.

During her testimony, the alleged victim also said one time before she went to bed, Lopez told her to give him a hug and he then moved her hand to the groin area of his pants.

She said she decided to tell her 14-year-old aunt about the sexual abuse but was too embarrassed to tell her mom the extent of the acts Lopez performed.

Velasquez said that Lopez was a very "touchy-touchy person," and liked to tickle the kids. The defense attorney said he liked to give the alleged victim hugs. The alleged victim also said she felt he was mean because he was very strict.

The alleged victim's aunt told prosecutors that she found out about the abuse from her younger sister. She said she decided to tell her older sister, the alleged victim's mother, about the abuse. After the mother learned of the alleged sexual abuse, she and Lopez got into an argument. She said two officers from the Lufkin Police Department arrived at the house after they received a disturbance call.

The mother of the alleged victim testified that she was upset and surprised when she heard about the abuse. She added her daughter didn't tell her the extent of the abuse at first.

Sean Alexander, a patrol officer with the Lufkin Police Department, said he was called out to the alleged victim's house in April 2012 because of a disruptive call. Alexander was surprised when he interviewed the alleged victim, and she told him that she had been sexually abused and assaulted. He said he turned the case over to his sergeant, who then turned it over to the criminal investigation unit.

Crockett Police Chief David Cross, who formerly worked with the criminal investigation unit in Lufkin, said that it was not uncommon for an abused child to hold back the truth from a parent. He also said it was normal that none of the alleged victim's family members had seen the abuse because most times the abuse will occur when no one is around.

In order to protect the alleged victim's identity, specific details were omitted from this story.

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