Mountain View Voice

News - February 18, 2011

Carbajal not guilty on three of six counts

Mistrial declared with jury deadlocked on remaining charges

by Nick Veronin

The jury in the child molestation trial of Pedro Carbajal declared the former Mountain View soccer coach not guilty on three of the six counts facing him, but they deadlocked on the remaining three charges. Superior Court Judge Griffin M. J. Bonini declared a mistrial.

Carbajal was accused of molesting and sexually assaulting his three young nieces over the course of several years, between 2000 and 2005.

The jury reached an impasse Feb. 10, but Bonini instructed them to resume deliberations Monday, Feb. 14, after a three-day recess. The jury remained deadlocked on three of the six counts facing Carbajal, but found him not guilty on two counts of aggravated sexual assault on a child under the age of 14, and one count of committing a lewd and lascivious act with a child.

The jury could not reach agreement on the remaining charges of two counts of committing a lewd and lascivious act by force, violence, duress or fear with a child under the age of 14, and one count of allegedly committing a lewd and lascivious act with a child under the age of 14.

Both the prosecution and the defense in this case came to equally unsettling conclusions in their closing arguments about the events that led up to the accusations of rape and molestation facing Carbajal. The defendant co-founded and coached the Amigos League, a soccer program for at-risk youth in Mountain View, before he was arrested in February 2009.

In his closing argument, Dan Fehderau, deputy district attorney for Santa Clara County, maintained that Carbajal was guilty of all the charges against him — including raping his eldest niece and fondling or rubbing himself against the two younger ones. All three girls were between the ages of 7 and 9 at the time of the alleged molestations.

Defense lawyer Darby Williams attributed the girls' accusations to a small but weighty lie, uttered two years ago by the youngest sister, that snowballed into an impossibly tangled web of lies and has perhaps even resulted in false memories.

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