A man from Cornwall, England, was accused of having sex with his stepdaughter on several occasions while her mother watched TV in another room, a court heard Monday. According to a local report, the man sexually abused the minor girl and also forced her to have oral sex.
A jury at Truro Crown Court heard how the man, now aged 39, allegedly started abusing the girl when she was 13 years old. Prosecutors told jury that the man believed he was in a relationship with the girl. All the incidents are alleged to have happened between 2010 and 2013.
The man, who was not named to protect the identity of the alleged victim, denied all 16 charges of sexual activity with a child, and three charges of voyeurism against him. It remains unclear how the incident came to light and when the man was taken into custody.
During the opening trial Monday, prosecutor Heather Hope reportedly said the man had been living with his partner and her children for over five years and acted as a father figure to the kids.
"They spent a lot of time together, they were really close, watching films on the sofa... He used those activities to be able to sexually abuse her," Hope said, addressing the jury, local media Cornwall Live reported. "She would start staying up increasingly late, usually on a Friday and Saturday. He would sit downstairs with [her] and watch films together while mum was upstairs in the bedroom watching TV."
"The first time something happened was when she and the defendant were sitting on the sofa watching a film, and she describes lying with her head on his lap, and she remembers him drinking... He started putting his hand down her trousers, which progressed to him touching her bottom and then vagina."
The prosecutor claimed the girl did not understand what was happening. The next day, the man threatened the girl not to tell her mother about their encounter. The girl alleges that her stepfather first "forced" her to have sex with him when the family went on a holiday. After that time, the man would have sex with the girl regularly, mostly under the influence of alcohol. He also expressed his feelings to her and said he thought they were in a relationship.
"Some nights when [the alleged victim] went to bed, the defendant would go up with her and climb into bed with her, and have sex with her or touch her," the jury heard.
Hope added: "He would use every opportunity that he could, he wouldn't care if there were other people in the house. According to the girl's brother, he once heard what he later realised were sexual noises coming from his sister's room."
The girl's brother did not say anything to anyone as he did not want to think something wrong was happening to his sister, the prosecutor said.
The case is currently ongoing at Truro Crown Court.
This article originally appeared in IBTimes US.