Family and friends of defendant Robert Lewis Taylor, and of his three alleged victims, packed a Nevada County courtroom for hours Thursday during a preliminary hearing into the evidence against him.
But they will have to wait a while longer for a decision on whether the case will proceed, after Superior Court Judge Tom Anderson chose to take the matter under submission due to the “seriousness of the case and the intricacies of the filed complaints.”
Anderson said he would issue a ruling as soon as possible, and a hearing was scheduled for Aug. 21.
Taylor, 49, has been charged with multiple counts of molesting three women, one of whom said she was 11 at the time — one count of continuous sexual abuse, four counts of lewd acts on a child, one count of dissuading a witness, one count of sexual battery by restraint and six counts of child molestation.
In court Thursday, Nevada County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Martin testified that he investigated the complaints as a detective in the Major Crimes Unit, beginning in October 2013.
E.H., the first alleged victim to come forward, is deaf and developmentally disabled, according to court testimony.
She was interviewed by a CPS worker and a certified sign language interpreter, after an initial interview using a Sheriff’s Office employee with sign language experience was discontinued, Martin said.
Taylor was her mother’s boyfriend at the time of the alleged incidents, Martin said.
The girl, who now is 20, said the molestation started when she was 15 or 16, and had gone on until 2013.
She said the incidents started with massages and involved Taylor touching her genitals, and happened “from time to time,” sometimes two to three times a week.
She did not tell anyone, Martin testified, saying, “She thought she could deal with it herself.”
Martin testified that E.H. said Taylor had “crossed the line” during one last incident, but it was not clear what she meant by that.
Martin said that he also interviewed Taylor’s niece, J.L., who reported two incidents, one when she was 13 years old and one when she was about 15.
J.L. told Martin she was on a camping trip at Bullards Bar when she woke up to find Taylor’s hand on her breast.
The second incident occurred in Hawaii, when she awoke to find his hand down her pants, Martin said.
The third alleged victim, H.G., came forward in February of this year, and told Martin her mother had dated Taylor for about two years.
H.G. told Martin she heard about allegations from Taylor’s daughter, that she was going to hear things that were not true.
H.G. said she told Taylor’s daughter she couldn’t believe such terrible allegations and that she hated E.H.’s mother for making those allegations.
H.G. subsequently realized, however, that something similar had happened to her, Martin said.
H.G. also reported the incidents occurred during massages, Martin said, adding that she said in one instance it happened every single night for about a week when she was 11 years old.
Martin testified that H.G. was “adamant” that Taylor had penetrated her while touching her genitals, saying she felt pain the next day.
H.G. said she had never told anyone about the incidents, thinking she was Taylor’s only victim, Martin said.
H.G. told Martin that Taylor had contacted her in February of this year and asked her to come over, which she did. Taylor told her that there was “bad blood” between him and E.H.’s mother and to ignore her if she tried to reach out to her, Martin said.
During cross-examination, Taylor’s attorney, Stephen Munkelt, strove to cast doubt on the validity of E.H.’s interview, suggesting that her mother was coaching her and influenced her to make a false report.
Both E.H.’s mother and Martin had sent “pretext” text messages to Taylor from the girl’s cell phone, and none of his responses were inappropriate, Martin said.
Martin also said that some of J.L.’s memories of what happened were vague, and agreed that she said the incidents “seemed unreal.”
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.