A prosecutor told a Sacramento Superior Court jury today that a pastor accused of 12 counts of child molestation turned his Citrus Heights home "into a house of horror for five little girls" and that "it's time to put a stop to that."
"It's time to hold this defendant responsible," Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Macy said in her closing argument in the trial of Rio Linda First Baptist Church pastor Tommy Gene Daniels. "It's time for you to find him guilty."
Defense attorney Michael L. Chastaine countered in his closing argument that his client is innocent of all the charges.
"Tom Daniels is an innocent man who sits in the worst chair in the entire planet, accused of something he didn't do," Chastaine said.
At the conclusion of the closing arguments, Judge Trena H. Burger-Plavan sent the jury out to begin its deliberations.
Daniels is accused of molesting four girls between the ages of 6 and 10 that he and his wife took into their home in a "respite care" program between 2003 and 2005. The fifth alleged victim, a 5-year-old, was molested when she was in the Daniels' home for day care services on July 5, 2005, Macy told the jury.
The "respite" girls had been placed in the Daniels home because of their behavioral problems that their adoptive parents could not control, one of which was lying. Macy told the jury they made "perfect victims" for Daniels.
"What better victims for someone who wants to molest a child?" Macy said. "'She's got a problem. Who's going to believe her.'"
One of the respite care girls said she was molested on the order of 50 times by Daniels. Another testified that it happened "a lot." A third said it happened more than once, and a fourth who appeared traumatized traumatized while she was testifying at trial, could barely report to the jury what she said happened to her.
Macy recounted the frightened girl's testimony to the jury that she felt she had been molested as part of the "punishment" of being placed in the Daniels' home in the first place.
By the end of 2004, the parents of the respite care children had all pulled their girls out of the Daniels home, about the time that the state revoked his wife's day care license.
It was seven months afterward that Macy said the fifth victim, whose parents hired the Daniels for babysitting services, reported that she had been molested while the slept in a back bedroom in the defendant's home on Wapiti Place.
Chastaine, in his closing argument, said the girls who made the allegations against the pastor were either lying, suffering from false memory or repeating what had been suggested to them by investigators or therapists.
Several other children who lived at the Daniels home also testified that they were not victims and that they never saw the defendant do anything inappropriate, the defense attorney reminded the jury.
"Why? Because there wasn't anything to see," he said.