COLUMBIA — A 9-year-old girl testified on Tuesday as the first witness in a trial in which a man faces sodomy and rape charges.

The state charged Oscar Antonio Contreras-Cornejo with two counts of sodomy/attempted sodomy, one count of statutory sodomy, one count of statutory rape, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor child, and one count of possession of child pornography.

The first witness, who was 7 at the time of the incident, was staying the night at her friend’s house. 

She testified at the trial in the 13th Circuit Court in Boone County that when she woke up "she felt something" behind her but didn’t know who it was. The girl said she turned around and asked the man to stop but he continued.

The first girl and her mother testified that on Feb. 16, 2014, they went to the second girl’s house for a birthday party. The mothers of both girls agreed to let them have a sleepover at the second girl’s house.

In her opening statement, Boone County Assistant Prosecutor Tracy Gonzalez said that the evidence will show that on that date the first girl woke up to the defendant putting an object in her bottom and that he continued after she repeatedly told him to stop. She further argued that evidence will show he abused the second girl.

Gonzalez said the state would show that after he abused the girls, Contreras-Cornejo took photos of both girls' private parts with his phone.

Testimony

The first girl testified that the morning after the sleepover, the two girls told the second girl's mother what had occurred the night before.

"She acted like she didn’t believe me," the first girl said.

The second mother, in her testimony, said that the two girls were "being little girls" and "giggling" when they told her that Contreras-Cornejo touched them.

"You wouldn't have believed them," the second mother said.

The first mother testified that after she got off work, she picked up her daughter from the sleepover. In the car, the girl said, "I have something to tell you."

The mother said that two of the girl's siblings were in the car, so the girl hopped on the console, cupped her hand over her mom's ear, and said: "Tony put his private in my bottom."

The mother testified that she had her daughter repeat herself, then the mother parked her car and walked into the second mother's house.

The first mother testified she came into the house and repeated what she had heard. The first mother testified that she asked the second girl, "is it true?"

The first mother testified that the second girl responded by shaking her head yes and crying. The second mother and Contreras-Cornejo were not home at the time.

The mother decided to take her daughter to the hospital after asking again if it was true.

"I told her if it's not true we don't have to go do this," the first mother testified. She testified that her daughter responded: "Mom I promise it's true."

Gonzalez, the assistant prosecutor, called the second girl to the stand, and the girl sobbed, saying she could not remember the day of the sleepover or any of the details she was asked. 

The state called the second girl’s older brother as its next witness. He testified that he remembered waking up in the middle of the night to his sister crying.

Cross-examination

In her opening statement, Sarah Aplin, Contreras-Cornejo's public defender, said she would argue four points:

  • No semen was found after the first girl's visit to the hospital.
  • The girls' stories changed. 
  • The defendant's phone was accessible by people in the home.
  • Both girls repeated what adults said.

In cross examination, Aplin asked the second girl's brother if he saw the defendant do anything to his sister. He said no.

Aplin asked the first mother about her call to the second mother. The first mother testified that the conversation was in English and that the first girl could hear it.

Aplin asked the first mother if she had asked her daughter to try to make the second girl more comfortable about opening up about the allegations.

"That's correct," the first mother said. 

Gonzalez followed by asking about a timeframe for the conversation. The first mother said it had occurred in the last couple of months. 

The second mother, in cross examination, said that she did not hear her daughter crying or screaming that night even though her son, in the same small house, testified that he did hear her crying.

The second mother testified that neither she nor her children had the passcode to Contreras-Cornejo's phone. 

The second day of the trial was set to begin at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Supervising editor is Jack Suntrup.

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