SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The city of San Diego's "streets czar" molested a young female relative nearly eight years ago, a prosecutor said Thursday, but an attorney for the defendant told jurors that the inappropriate touching never happened.
Mario Sierra, who was appointed last year to the post of director of San Diego's Transportation and Stormwater Department, is charged with a felony count of committing a lewd act on a child. He has been placed on unpaid leave from his city job pending the outcome of the criminal case.
Deputy District Attorney Fanny Yu alleged in her opening statement that the 48-year-old defendant molested the girl in 2004, when she was 9 or 10 years old.
The girl, now 18, told her mother about the alleged abuse in 2010 after they watched an "Oprah" show on the subject of abuse.
A year ago, the girl made a "pretext call" to the defendant in which he admitted the molestation, Yu told the jury.
The girl testified that Sierra put her hand on his private area while they were lying on the couch and watching a television show in which people were having sex.
Defense attorney Thomas Warwick told the jury that there was "no inappropriate touching" of the girl by his client.
Warwick said the girl's mother told her family she was molested as a child and constantly told her children to report any sexual abuse right away.
Sierra faces up to eight years in prison if convicted.
In a ceremony at the Veterans Museum in Balboa Park, people paid homage to those who lost their lives in service to our great nation.
A soldier from the San Diego area died as a result of a "non-combat related" incident in Kosovo, the Department of Defense said Friday.
Authorities Friday released the name of a lawman who opened fire on an assault suspect who allegedly charged him with a machete over his head in a busy intersection near Grossmont Center mall.
Law enforcement agencies across San Diego County are planning to crack down on drunken driving over the three-day Memorial Day weekend.
A two vehicle crash left one person critically injured Friday in Emerald Hills, according to authorities.
Some of the smartest high school students in San Diego County will be in Atlanta this weekend competing in the National Quiz Bowl Championship.
Californians Aware, a statewide group that advocates for government transparency, Friday expressed concern over a soon-to-take- effect San Diego Unified School District policy to delete most emails after one year.
Millions of Southern Californians will be taking to the roads and airways Friday as the Memorial Day travel crunch goes into high gear, and the large crowds will likely test the patience of motorists and airline passengers.