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Trial begins for man accused of raping teen girl

Attorneys provided opening statements Thursday in the trial of a Merced man accused of raping a 13-year-old girl.

MERCED - Raymond Dean Thompson, 32, is accused of assaulting the girl during the early morning hours of Nov. 1 in the bedroom of her Merced apartment. He’s pleaded not guilty to seven felony counts, and his attorney claims there’s little or no evidence the girl was assaulted.

The girl claims she was sleeping when Thompson entered her bedroom and assaulted her for several minutes. Her 11-year-old brother was asleep in a separate bed in the same room, and her father was attending a neighborhood gathering when the assault happened.

Deputy District Attorney Rob Carroll, prosecutor in the case, told jurors the girl confided in an apartment manager the same morning about the assault, and police were notified. The victim’s father also confronted Thompson that morning, after learning about the alleged assault. A confrontation between the two men erupted in the 1800 block of Merced Avenue, and police responded to the scene.

Thompson, who knew the girl’s father, was arrested and acknowledged being at the neighborhood gathering, but denied ever assaulting the girl.

Carroll said the girl told Merced police the defendant’s cell phone rang during the assault — and she saw his face when the phone lit up. “She will look at you and tell you that’s the man that sexually assaulted her,” Carroll told jurors.

The girl also claimed she recognized the defendant’s phone ringtone. Carroll also said the nurse who performed a rape exam on the girl will testify the injuries on her private parts are consistent with an assault.

In contrast, defense attorney Jeffrey Tenenbaum said there’s little physical evidence of an assault. Tenenbaum said samples from medical cotton swabs, clothes and the bed’s mattress were submitted to a Department of Justice lab for testing — but absolutely no DNA or semen evidence was found. “Numerous other cuttings for all the evidence tested negative,” Tenenbaum said.

Tenenbaum said a DOJ criminologist will also testify during the trial about the lack of evidence. He also said the girl has made numerous inconsistent statements since the allegations arose.

As for the ring tone on Thompson’s phone, Tenenbaum told jurors, “That’s not enough to convict a man of forcible rape.”

Thompson is charged with forcible rape, performing a lewd or lascivious act upon a child, sodomy by force, oral copulation by force, making a threat of great bodily injury, assault and burglary.

He remains at the Merced County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

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