CARLSBAD — A 34-year-old man pleaded not guilty Oct. 2 to charges relating to the molestation of his former girlfriend’s daughter.
Juan Hernandez Vasquez is charged with six counts of a lewd and lascivious act with a child under the age of 14. The victim, whose name has been withheld to protect her identity, was 12 during the eight-month ordeal that started in August 2007, Deputy District Attorney Marnie Stein said outside the courtroom.
In addition, Stein said each count carries the special allegation of substantial sexual conduct, which, if convicted of even a single count, means mandatory prison time for Vasquez.
Vasquez, who remains in jail on $300,000 bail, faces up to 18 years in prison if convicted on all the charges. He is scheduled to be back in court Nov. 20 for trial.
The victim testified she had been sexually molested on numerous occasions by Vasquez from August 2007 to April 2008. Throughout her testimony, she faced away from the defendant.
The victim’s mother testified she found Vasquez, her boyfriend of four years, sound asleep with her daughter when she arrived home from work around 3 a.m. April 8.
She said the two were asleep in her daughter’s bed under the covers. After calling the police, she said her daughter told her about the molestations she’d endured.
The teen’s mother said she was surprised to hear about the abuse her daughter suffered at the hands of Vasquez. She said it wasn’t uncommon for Vasquez and her daughter to be alone for several hours after he returned home from work around 11 p.m.
“I trusted him,” she said.