A Santa Barbara jury found German Acosta, 34, guilty on September 23 of aggravated sexual assault, along with other lewd acts, convictions that could land him behind bars for life.

Relying almost solely on testimony from the victim, Acosta’s 12-year-old niece, the jury deliberated for about three-and-a-half hours before finding him guilty for his actions one night in 2008.

Acosta is the younger brother of the victim’s father, and would sleep on the family’s couch occasionally. This particular night, according to the victim, Acosta came into her bedroom and asked her if she had a boyfriend. Later that night, as the victim was sleeping, Acosta came into her room, woke her up by touching her thigh, and had her stand up. He took off his clothes and attempted to sodomize her by rubbing his penis on her buttocks. He left and came back and inserted his penis into the girl’s vagina, but then left again. He returned for a third time, this time masturbating into her hand. He came back to her room after using the bathroom and gave her $20.

Acosta admitted on the stand that he woke up his niece by touching her thigh, but it was merely to say goodbye to her, he said. As she was getting up, he said, he may have accidentally touched her breast, but that was it.

The victim told no one but a friend of hers, who told a counselor at Girls Inc. They reported the crime. Testing was done, but no physical evidence was found-not on the victim, nor on Acosta, nor in the girl’s bedroom. The jury relied solely on the child’s recitation of the events, which was stacked up against that of Acosta, who also testified, according to prosecutor Joyce Dudley.

Aggravated sexual assault carries a penalty of 15 years to life in prison. He was also found guilty of one count of a forcible lewd act on a child, and one count of a lewd and lascivious act not by force.

Acosta will be back in court for sentencing October 22.


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