Victim testifies at Nacogdoches trial for man accused of tying up, sexually assaulting girl

Victim testifies at Nacogdoches trial for man accused of tying up, sexually assaulting girl

Editor's note: This story contains graphic sexual language.

By Khyati Patel

Nacogdoches, TX (KTRE) - During the jury trial of a Nacogdoches man accused of snatching a then-7-year-old girl from her yard, taking her to his house, and sexually assaulting her, the alleged victim said Juan Perez Moreno put black tape on her feet, hands, and mouth and removed it after he did the "nasty stuff."

Moreno, an illegal immigrant who was working in the Nacogdoches area, is still being held in the Nacogdoches County Jail on four first-degree felony aggravated sexual assault of a child charges, a first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping with bodily injury-sexual abuse charge, a first-degree continuous sexual assault of a child charge, and a Class A misdemeanor resisting arrest charge.

Collectively, Moreno's bail amount has been set at $1,502,500.

The jury trial is being held in Judge Campbell Cox's 145th Judicial District courtroom. During the first day of testimony Monday, Moreno pleaded not guilty to four charges.

The now-9-year-old alleged victim was the first person to testify.

When the girl's teacher took the stand next, she said that on May 20, 2015, she asked the girl what was wrong. She said the girl then started screaming and crying hysterically. Eventually, the screaming stopped, but the crying continued, the teacher said.

"In my 10 years [of teaching], I've never had to deal with this," the woman said.

After the lunch break, four additional witnesses testified.

The third witness to take stand was Rachel Thumann, the school nurse at TJ Rusk Elementary in Nacogdoches.

Thumann said it was a normal day until the teacher sent the victim to her office. The victim told Thumann her vaginal area was hurting because someone was touching her private area.

Thumann then explained in graphic detail the girl's explanation of how Moreno sexually assaulted her.

The next witness, Madeline Navarro, conducted the forensic interview of the child at Harold's House, a child advocacy center in Nacogdoches. She explained her role and interaction with the victim on the day of the interview.

Navarro told the jurors that the girl started to cry when they started talking about Moreno. She said the victim became very stiff, and her arms were crossed for most of the forensic interview when talking about Moreno.

A nurse took the stand next. Lisa King, who said she has been a nurse since 1976, performed the sexual assault nurse exam on the girl. She said that she found redness in the victim's vaginal area that corroborated to the girl's account of what happened.

The next witness to take the stand was Amanda Cordova, a counselor who saw the victim for a year. She testified that the victim often complained that her stomach hurt and had regressed in her sleep. Cordova also said the girl told her that she was scared that someone was going to come through her window if she slept by herself.

According to the arrest affidavit, an NCSO investigator was dispatched out to Harold's House to sit in on a forensic interview with the victim. During the interview, the little girl allegedly said that Moreno picked her up from her yard while she was playing and took her to his residence.

Once inside the home, Moreno took off the girl's clothes, taped her hands behind her back, put tape over her mouth, and then sexually assaulted her, injuring her in the process, the affidavit stated.

When NCSO deputies went to Moreno's house in the 110 block of County Road 521 to execute an arrest warrant on May 21, 2015, he tried to run from the deputies by going back into the residence, the affidavit stated. He also allegedly tried to pull away from them.

According to the affidavit, the deputies had to use force to restrain Moreno and take him into custody. Moreno was then taken to the jail without any further incident.

A press release from the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office stated that evidence was found at Moreno's residence that was linked to the sexual assault of the girl.

The next morning, NCSO investigators interviewed Moreno, and he confessed to the crime as well as another sexual assault that occurred two months ago in Nacogdoches County, a press release stated.

At the time, Bridges said that Moreno was an illegal immigrant that had been working in the Nacogdoches area for a few years.

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