A Fresno, California, father heard the frightening words every parent fears when he learned that his child was being molested.
According to ABC30, the dad, whose name has not been released to protect their identity, lived through that terrifying moment when his teenage daughter told him those chilling words. He said:
“She told me, she goes ‘Dad, Papa’s been touching me.'”
His stepfather, Rex Garcia, a former police officer, was the man allegedly molesting his daughter. The girl told her father “Papa” came into her room and took off two layers of her clothes while she was asleep.
The dad feared nobody would believe the step-grandfather was sexually abusing his child since he’d been an officer, and the father himself was a convicted thief. So, he placed a hidden camera in her bedroom to record proof she was being touched, according to the Fresno Bee.
ABC30 reports the video from 2015 captured Garcia coming into the girl’s room at night and lifting her blanket up while she slept. The father explained:
“He came in and he sat on the edge of the bed and then got up and walked out.”
He came back into her again two more nights before the dad contacted police with the video evidence.
Garcia’s defense attorney, Antonio Alvarez, blew off the video for failing to provide proof that the man molested the child:
“Look at those videos. Doesn’t show anything nefarious. Nothing at all.”
The authorities saw something different, though, arresting the step-grandfather who faces a felony charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 years old from August 2009 to August 2015.
The arrest pits family against family, with “Papa’s” lawyer pointing out the video only showed a concerned grandfather checking on the teen.
Garcia’s lawyer said her grandmother, Josephine Garcia, and step-grandfather “were hyper-protective of her,” and the granddaughter had an issue with lying.
Alvarez also said the teen’s grandmother, Josephine, wasn’t convinced her husband sexually assaulted her granddaughter after watching the videos.
According to ABC30, prosecutor Amy Freeman said:
“A former law enforcement officer for the Fresno sheriff’s department and the Fresno Police Department betrayed this family by molesting name redacted.”
Garcia has pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing his step-granddaughter since she was a seven-year-old girl. He is free on $40,000 bail and faces up to 16 years in prison if he’s convicted.
Watch the father describe the abuse below: