A prosecutor asked jurors today to convict a 57-year-old San Leandro man of five sexual assault charges for allegedly abusing, molesting and raping a family member when she was between the ages of seven and 10.
In her closing argument in the Alameda County Superior Court trial of Arthur Esver, prosecutor Samantha Kim said Esver took advantage of the family member’s trust in him and sexually attacked her after he made her comfortable by buying her ice cream and playing with her.
Kim said Esver had regular access to the girl and “was someone she trusted, cared for and looked up to.”
Esver, who is being held in custody without bail, is accused of four counts of intercourse or sodomy with a child under the age of 10 and one count of sexual penetration with a foreign object on a child under 10.
Holding a teddy bear when she was on the witness stand two weeks ago, the girl said of Esver that “at first I loved him a lot” and “he would take me out and buy me treats.”
Kim said today that the girl’s statements to police and in court have been “consistent,” but she doesn’t remember the exact dates when Esver allegedly molested her so the charges against him state that the alleged incidents occurred between Sept. 1, 2009, and March 6, 2011.
After the fifth alleged incident, the girl, who is now 12, finally told a family member what was happening to her because “she couldn’t take it anymore and had to tell someone,” Kim said.
However, Esver’s lawyer, Roger Hecht, told jurors that they should find Esver not guilty of all of the charges against him because there’s no evidence that the girl was physically harmed or that Esver had sex with her.
Hecht said, “This girl is a virgin. This crime never occurred.”
The defense lawyer said the girl is prone to lying and there’s “not one shred of evidence” that she was ever unwilling to accompany Esver.
Hecht also said it’s unlikely that Esver would have molested the girl because in most of the alleged incidents, someone else was nearby and would have heard the girl scream or yell if she was being molested.
He said, “There’s abundant reasonable doubt and that mandates acquittal.”
But Kim said Esver was very discreet when he molested the girl and “she didn’t have anyone to cry out to” because no one was in earshot.
Kim said the reason the girl kept visiting Esver is that he kept promising her that he would stop molesting her and she believed him until she finally had had enough and reported the case in March 2011.
Esver was arrested shortly after the girl gave a statement to police that month.
Jurors began deliberating Esver’s fate late today and will resume their deliberations on Tuesday.
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