SANTA BARBARA — In September 2009, 35-year-old German Acosta was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault, forcible lewd acts upon a child, and another lewd and lascivious act not by force. The victim and chief prosecution witness in the determination of the three felony convictions was Acosta’s own 12-year-old niece.
According to his niece’s graphic courtroom testimony, on July 27, 2008, Acosta, an occasional houseguest in his brother’s home, entered the girl’s bedroom at 6 a.m. and awakened his niece by touching her thigh. He is alleged to have then disrobed and attempted anal intercourse upon her. According to prosecution testimony, he then left the bedroom, returned, performed vaginal intercourse and subsequently masturbated into her hand. He then gave his niece $20 in cash and left the room.
No physical evidence was found to support the victim’s testimony, and Acosta admitted to awakening the girl by touching her leg so that he could give her $20 to attend Santa Barbara’s annual Fiesta that weekend.
With no biological evidence found or suggested by the prosecution, jury deliberations at trial balanced entirely upon the testimony of the victim, then age 12.
Defense attorney Ben Bycel offered no comment following the March 9 sentencing, other than to express his intention to immediately file an appeal and express dismay at California’s legislatively mandated sentencing guidelines.