A Leonardtown man was arrested last Wednesday after child protective services received information that he had possibly sexually abused a girl at his house last year when she was 7 years old.
According to a statement of probable cause, Gilbert Estevez, 30, denied accusations that he had sexually assaulted the girl, stating that “she may have viewed sexually explicit videos/photographs [of him] on his cellphone.”
The statement says that an “unknown source” informed child protective services that the girl living at the house, who is now 8, had disclosed that “she had been sexually assaulted … sometime in 2018 when she was 7 years old.”
Detectives from the St. Mary’s sheriff’s office interviewed the girl, who “described being sexually assaulted while residing at the private residence” in California, and “was able to describe” sexual acts that she alleged Estevez performed on her. She also advised investigators that “she had observed [Estevez] masturbate to pornographic films inside the residence in her presence,” according to the charging papers.
The charging papers say that the girl’s mother “confirmed between September 2018 and July 2019” herself, the girl, Estevez and “another minor child” had resided at the California address, and agreed to assist in the investigation. She “placed a controlled telephone call to” Estevez, where he “denied the allegations of sexual abuse” but “advised it was possible that the victim may have observed him masturbating or viewed sexually graphic photographs/videos in his cellphone of him.”
At Estevez’s bond hearing on Friday, assistant state’s attorney Joseph Boyd said that the girl’s statements “are statements that no 8-year-old child should have knowledge of.”
“The statements made by the victim cause the state to believe there is a public safety risk,” Boyd said, asking St. Mary’s District Judge Christy Holt Chesser to hold Estevez without bond.
Maria Doerflinger, a public defender representing Estevez for bond, said that “there is no physical evidence” of the allegations, and that the girl was “coming forward a year later.”
Doerflinger asked Chesser to release Estevez if he obtains an address that is not with the girl, and said that he could rent an apartment on his own if he is released.
“It is not unusual for a victim who is a child to not report or call the police” in sexual assault cases, Chesser said.
She said that “even if [Estevez] did have another address, there would be an extreme risk to the victim.”
Chesser ordered Estevez to be held without bond at the detention center. He will face a preliminary hearing on Oct. 8 for the case.
Estevez is charged with second-degree rape, sexual abuse of a minor, a third-degree sex offense and second-degree assault.