Junction man found guilty of eight sex-assault charges against boy, girl
A Mesa County jury returned a mixed batch of verdicts Friday in the trial of a 45-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting a boy and girl over a span of several years.
Trini Lamar Trujillo, of Grand Junction, was arrested in April 2014 after investigators learned an elementary school girl told her foster mother that she had been molested by him.
A man who is now in his 20s also came forward and told investigators he had been sexually abused by Trujillo as a young child.
The man said he didn’t tell anyone about the abuse until he was 16 because he was afraid and didn’t think anyone would do anything about it, earlier reports said.
Trujillo was eventually charged with 18 counts including sexual assault on a child, tampering and child abuse. He pleaded not guilty and took his case before a jury.
The younger victim, who is still in elementary school, testified in court May 3, describing one instance of sexual assault that she called “the big incident.”
“I remember screaming,” the child told jurors. “He used his hand to cover my mouth.”
The girl recalled incidents where she saw pornography on a computer and when Trujillo warned her not to tell anyone. The girl also described receiving a phone call from Trujillo from the jail after his arrest, which eventually led to his tampering charge.
In closing arguments, Mesa County Chief Deputy District Attorney Trish Mahre commended the girl for not changing her story after or during the phone call.
“(She) held firm throughout that entire phone call,” Mahre said.
Public Defender Tracy Badger described allegations against Trujillo as false, and said the girl blamed Trujillo for being placed in foster care.
“That’s what spawns her to make a false allegation,” said Badger, who described the girl as a “system-savvy kid” who was trying to change her living situation.
Badger said the man who brought accusations against Trujillo was also motivated by a personal grudge.
She also faulted investigators who she said “latched onto” the girl’s story of sexual abuse without evidence during interviews.
“They push, they mold and they weaponize the original nonsense claims of (the girl),” Badger said.
Trujillo did not testify in his own defense.
Jurors returned guilty verdicts in eight of Trujillo’s 18 charges, including both sex assault charges related to the man’s claims and three of 13 sex assault charges relating to the young girl.
However, he was acquitted in 10 sex assault-related charges brought based on the girl’s allegations.
Trujillo was also convicted on charges of tampering, protection order violation and child abuse.
He will be sentenced June 22, when prosecutors plan to ask that he be sentenced as a habitual criminal.