A judge's gavel. Photo from Pixabay.
A judge’s gavel. Photo from Pixabay.

An Indio teenager testified Thursday that a male relative sexually abused her, crying on the stand as she described sending her friend a photo of a hickey on her chest that she said proved the defendant’s guilt.

“He told me he was going to call the police, but I told him not to because I was scared,” the girl testified. “I didn’t want to tear my family apart.”

The girl, who is now 15 years old, was the second witness called by the prosecution in the trial of Gregory Galvan Medina, 49, who is accused of sexually abusing her from July 2012 to September 2018.

The Indio resident faces up to 38 years to life in state prison if convicted of one count each of aggregated sexual assault of a child and sodomy by force on a victim under 14 years old, and six counts of lewd acts with a child under 14 years old.

The prosecution alleges the defendant began touching the girl inappropriately at the age of 7, and by age 11, he began having regular sex with her. The alleged abuse — which continued until she was 13 years old — came to light when the girl told a male friend of hers on Snapchat in September 2018, according to Deputy District Attorney Shea Strand.

The teen said she sent her friend photos of a hickey that she said the defendant gave her, and then begged her friend not to tell anyone.

“That night I told him what was going on, and I had proof of it so I sent him the picture” she said.

The boy then told his mother, who called authorities. Indio police responded to the victim’s house soon after, where she admitted to the alleged abuse, according to prosecutors. The defendant was arrested a few days later.

In her opening statement, Strand alleged that Medina meticulously groomed the young girl from an early age.

Deputy Public Defender Gregory Henderson, meanwhile, acknowledged that some of the criminal allegations were true — but not the most serious ones.

“The evidence will show, yes, this started when she was 7. It was just touching,” he said.

When confronted by police, Medina admitted to abusing the girl, saying he was “sick in the head” for what he did, court papers allege. “Tell her I’m sorry,” the defendant allegedly told an investigator.

Medina has felony convictions that include battery on a peace officer, child abuse and embezzlement.

He remains in custody at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning in lieu of $500,000 bail.

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