By Jim Balloch
Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:30 a.m.

Andres Francisco

She was just 12 years old. She knew she was going to be raped again.

He had placed a blue blanket over her face. She heard the sound of the zipper on his pants.

That was in December 2010, she testified Tuesday in Knox County Criminal Court, and was the final time that Andres Francisco would rape her. Soon thereafter, he stopped living as a guest of her family and moved out.

About nine months later, at 13, she gave birth, by C-section, to a 6 1/2 pound boy that she and Knox County authorities say is Francisco's child.

Francisco, now 24, is an illegal immigrant. He is a distant relative to the victim's mother. He is charged with aggravated sexual battery and rape of a child. He has pleaded innocent to each charge, and is represented by the Knox County Public Defender's office.

Assistant Knox County District Attorney General Charme Knight told jurors, "We are going to ask you to find him guilty of the multiple rapes" of the girl, who is now 14 and has resumed attending school.

Results of DNA and paternity tests, Knight said, place the likelihood that Francisco is the father of the victim's child "at 99.99 percent." She said Francisco began abusing the girl in September 2010, by grabbing at her breasts.

Judge Bob R. McGee and a jury of seven men and seven women, including alternates, began hearing testimony Tuesday.

Francisco is following the proceedings via a court-appointed interpreter.

His alleged victim gave her testimony in clear English. She wore glasses and was mostly stoic but occasionally broke down into tears when she testified.

Assistant Knox County Public Defender Jessica Greene told the jury that Francisco is the victim of a story concocted by the girl to deflect the anger of her father when he learned she was pregnant.

The DNA tests, she said, are not as valid as results suggest because they were not conducted as thoroughly as they should have been.

"He did not do these horrible things to her. He is an innocent man, and he is not the father (of her child)," Green said.

Not only had Francisco threatened to come back and hurt her and her family, the girl testified, he had obtained a picture of her and told her his wife could use it in witchcraft on her family.

Trial of immigrant accused of child rape starts in Knox » Knoxville News Sentinel