VALPARAISO | The 9-year-old girl sat at the front of the courtroom with a stuffed black bear on her lap and told the jury how Arthur Gutierrez molested her on repeated occasions beginning when she was 4.
"I would lay down and he would lay on top of me," she said. "It hurt. He was kind of squishing me."
The girl said Gutierrez, who is now 33, rubbed himself on her front and backsides, and had her use her mouth and hands on him.
The third-grader said she did not tell anyone until she was 7 and was questioned by her aunt.
When questioned by defense attorney Bob Harper, the girl said she first told her aunt nothing happened.
It was not until her aunt began asking about specific sex acts that the girl made the accusations against Gutierrez, of Hobart.
"I didn't know what she meant by that," the girl said of her aunt's questions, "and she explained what she meant."
Harper told the jury during opening arguments that after questioning the girl about potential abuse for a year, her aunt decided on the day in question she was going to force an answer.
"She decided to crack her," Harper said.
Gutierrez, who faces a Class A felony count of child molestation, agreed to waive his right to be present in the courtroom as the girl testified in order to ease the pressure on her, Harper said.
Deputy Prosecutor Rebecca Buitendorp told jurors the girl was sexually abused until she disclosed the information.
The girl began acting out inappropriately with other children, including asking boys to pull their pants down, Buitendorp said.
The abuse reportedly occurred between Feb. 1, 2005, and July 31, 2009, in Liberty Township.
Gutierrez had been tried in August for molesting a different child and the case resulted in a hung jury. The jury split 11-1 in favor of a not guilty verdict.