A 12-year-old girl testified today that Rio Linda Baptist preacher Tommy Gene Daniels molested her six years ago at his Citrus Heights home that also served as his wife's day care center.
The girl said she was taking a nap in a bedroom at the Daniels' residence when "Tom...tried to wake me up by touching me inappropriately."
She is one of five victims prosecutors intend to bring to the stand in the trial against Daniels, 49, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Rio Linda.
Daniels is facing 12 molestation counts in incidents that took place between 2005 and 2008, Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Macy told a Sacramento Superior Court jury.
Defense attorney Michael L. Chastaine sought to find inconsistencies in the girl's story. Chastain suggested in his questioning that the girl changed her story from a recent videotaped interview in which she said she was asleep when the incident she described took place.
"I wasn't sure because I wasn't asleep, I wasn't awake," she said.
Chastaine said in his opening statement to the jury that Daniels "is a good man," "a good husband, a good father, a good member of this community."
The defense lawyer said some of the alleged victims who will testify against Daniels "are liars" who wanted to get back at him because they were troubled kids who didn't like going to his house for the "respite care" provided by his wife.
Daniels' wife, Brenda Daniels, had lost her state day care and foster care licenses in 2003 for assorted violations of state regulations but continued taking in referrals on problematic children whose parents needed temporary breathers.
There was no indication that the girl who testified today was one of those children. Her parents said they had been taking her to the Daniels house for on Wapiti Place in Citrus Heights for three years before the alleged July 5, 2005, molestation of their then-6-year-old daughter.
Citrus Heights police interviewed the girls' parents the same day and arrested Daniels, but he was not arrested until December 2010.