RICHMOND -- During Raul Ochoa's preliminary hearing, he made a phone call from jail to the female relative he had raped and molested for more than a decade in an attempt to scare her from cooperating with authorities, according to the victim's account in a restraining order petition.
The June 13 phone call, which came on the woman's protected phone number that she used after she escaped the abuse the year before, caused her to suffer a severe anxiety attack and to be hospitalized. The woman, who is 28 and is not being named because she is a victim of sex abuse, said it was just one part of a dogged, yearlong effort by Ochoa and his mother to intimidate her after his Aug. 16, 2012 arrest.
"(Ochoa's mother) is trying to track me down and intimidate me into saying that I lied," she wrote in a restraining order petition filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court a week after the phone call. "(Ochoa) has convinced her that I lied about the abuse. Both (Ochoa) and (Ochoa's mother) believe that if I do not cooperate, the criminal case will be dismissed."
A judge granted a five-year restraining order July 15, preventing Ochoa from contacting the woman and three of her relatives by phone, or in person, or harassing or stalking them.
Sex abuse experts say it is not uncommon for abusers to intimidate their victims from a jail cell.
Melissa Caine-Huckabay -- who works with the West County Family Justice Center, a Richmond agency that assists abuse victims -- said such behavior happens frequently.
"It is very common when there's a very long history of abuse ... for family and friends to be a conduit for the offender to give messages or to intimidate the victim to drop the charges," she said.
In Ochoa's case, it didn't work.
On Wednesday, Ochoa, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of forced lewd acts on a child and two counts of forcible rape in a case with resemblances to the tragic tale of Jaycee Dugard, the abducted girl who was held captive as a sex slave near Antioch for 18 years.
As part of the deal, which was crafted to keep the victim from having to testify, Ochoa, who is in custody on $30 million bail, will be sentenced to 22 years in state prison.
Investigators said Ochoa sexually assaulted the woman from 1999 to 2012, building a backyard shed in later years to continue the abuse. On Aug. 13, 2012, the woman escaped the North Richmond house, and went to police three days later. Ochoa was arrested that same day, and she went into hiding.
The intimidation started the day after his arrest, when Ochoa's mother came to the family house and asked for the victim, the woman wrote in a three-page, typewritten declaration attached to the restraining order petition.
"She said, 'I'm going contact (her) at any cost to get (Ochoa) out of jail,'" she wrote.
The restraining order does not identify Ochoa's mother by name.
Every day for more than four months, Ochoa's mother would visit the house with Ochoa on the phone until another family member told her to stop, the victim wrote.
In March 2013, family members gathered for a funeral and Ochoa's mother took photos of the victim and her family, saying she wanted to send them to Ochoa because no one visited him in jail, the victim wrote. The next month, Ochoa's mother visited the family with Ochoa on speaker phone, but no one wanted to speak to him, she wrote.
At the time of the restraining order petition, the woman said Ochoa's mother last contacted the family May 12 at the church they all attended, again asking for the victim's whereabouts, she wrote.
"(Ochoa's mother) has served as (Ochoa's) courier, messenger and accomplice in a campaign to intimidate me and my family into not cooperating with the criminal prosecution," she wrote.
Richmond police Capt. Mark Gagan said the department had not heard of any intimidation by Ochoa's mother, but said advocacy agencies can assist victims and often help them draft restraining orders.
"When it happens it's a secondary victimization," he said.
The first phone call from jail proved too much for the victim, who had guarded her private cell phone number since she went into hiding.
Three days after the call, the woman said she had a bad headache and part of her head felt "numb" and went to the hospital.
"I do not want (Ochoa) to contact me any more and disturb my peace and well being," she wrote.
Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.