Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A former Anaheim church’s music instructor sexually assaulted a 9-year-old girl and used a video camera to take up-skirt images of a 12-year-old girl, a prosecutor told Santa Ana jurors Tuesday, while the defendant’s attorney said his client was guilty of molesting the older girl but not the younger alleged victim.

David Elifar Verduzco, 35, a member of the Agape House of Prayer’s “worship team,” is charged with sexual penetration of a child 10 years or younger, three counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor, all felonies, and two misdemeanor counts each of child annoyance and using a concealed device to record another without their consent.

Verduzco is accused of using his fingers to sexually assault the 9-year- old girl he was babysitting at her Tustin home on Aug. 28, 2011, Senior Deputy District Attorney Jana Hoffmann said.

Verduzco “was so close to (the victim’s) family they used to call him Uncle David,” Hoffmann said. “They trusted him.”

Verduzco offered the girl money, which she refused, then reached under her nightgown and sexually assaulted her, Hoffmann alleged. When the girl objected, Verduzco “gives her an angry look, flips her off and on the way out of the room he threatens her not to tell anyone,” the prosecutor said.

Between January and September of 2011, Verduzco also is accused of molesting a 12-year-old girl, who was taking piano lessons from the defendant at the church, the prosecutor said.

Verduzco would “flirt” with the girl and “lean over and kiss her on the cheek” during lessons, Hoffmann alleged. The defendant is also accused of placing his hand on her thigh at times during lessons, she added.

While the girl would play the piano, Verduzco would use his foot to slip his phone under her skirt to make videos, Hoffmann said.

The 12-year-old girl’s mother saw her daughter exchanging text messages with Verduzco late one night, and the mother reported her observations to the church pastor, Hoffmann said.

The text messages “say things like, ‘You’re beautiful,’ ‘I love you,’ ” Hoffmann alleged.

“It’s pretty clear this is not a conversation a grown man should have with a 12-year-old girl,” Hoffmann said.

The pastor kicked Verduzco out of the church, which prompted another member of the church to alert the 9-year-old girl’s family, Hoffmann said. When the girl was questioned about Verduzco she reported the alleged sexual assault, the prosecutor said.

Verduzco allegedly admitted to investigators he sexually assaulted the 9- year-old and was attracted to the 12-year-old, Hoffmann said.

Verduzco’s attorney, Lawrence Volk, noted that the alleged victims are friends and said his client was not guilty of attacking the 9-year-old. He conceded his client was guilty of charges related to the older girl.

“The dispute in this case is what happened with Mr. Verduzco and (the 9- year-old girl),” Volk said. “I ask you to listen to all of the facts leading up to that event… And remember (the girls) are buddies.”

— City News Service

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