BILLINGS -- Clutching her stuffed tiger and blanket, a young Billings girl testified courageously Tuesday about the night she was raped.
Tristan Morales, 22, is on trial in Yellowstone County District Court for one count each of sexual intercourse without consent and tampering with evidence.
Morales allegedly raped the girl in April of 2017.
But as the 8-year-old girl testified on Tuesday, the April assault was not the first time Morales sexually abused her.
“Tristan did something wrong to me, something inappropriate,” the victim said.
Several times throughout her testimony, the girl hung her head, unable to answer the question.
But she ultimately offered jurors a detailed account of the rape.
The girl said she had been playing a game on the couch when Morales turned off the lights and took the game away.
She testified that Morales told her she could have the game back if she followed his instructions.
At one point during the victim's testimony, prosecutors stopped the trial because Morales was apparently making gestures and nodding his head “yes” and “no” in the girl’s direction.
The judge warned Morales to stop and the trial continued.
The victim testified that she told her father about the abuse days later and he took her to the hospital for an exam.
A Billings nurse testified about how the girl's sexual assault exam yielded little evidence because it was conducted five days after the rape.
“That’s not at all uncommon,” the nurse said.
Earlier in the investigation, Morales allegedly admitted to the crime but blamed the victim's parents for being unaware.
Morales told detectives he did not want to have to register as a sexual offender because it would prevent him from becoming a school counselor, according to court documents.
Trial resumes Wednesday.
It’s unclear if Morales will testify.