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Boys testify adults were there during toe-sucking

May 13, 2003

Deepa Bharath

A former Newport Beach recreation coordinator would suck boys' toes

even when other "kids" or "grown-ups" were around, several children

said Monday as they took the stand in the trial of the man accused of

using boys for sexual gratification.

Trenton Veches, dressed in a dark gray suit, seemed to listen

intently to the boys' statements as each of them described how he

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sucked their toes or made them pose for digital pictures he allegedly

took and filed away in his home computer.

The defense has argued that Veches did suck the boys' toes, but

that it was not sexual.

On Monday, the second day of the trial, the prosecution brought

about 10 boys to the witness stand, seemingly aiming to establish a

consistent pattern of behavior on Veches' part -- that he had a foot

fetish and was specifically obsessed with young boys' feet.

The boys who testified on Monday were between 7 and 12 years old

and each about a year younger at the time of the alleged crimes.

One 8-year-old boy said "everyone" at the city's after-school

program he went to saw Veches sucking his toes.

"The grown-ups were there," he told defense attorney John Dolan,

who was cross-examining him. "They saw it. Everyone saw it."

The boy said he told his father about the toe-sucking.

"My father said it was a bad thing to do," he said. "So the next

time he did it, I told him to stop doing that. I told him it was a

bad thing to do. And then [Veches] said 'OK.'"

Another 8-year-old boy said Veches made him pose for pictures.

"It's kinda confusing," he told prosecutor Sheila Hanson. "He'd

suck on my toes for some reason. I didn't think it was cruel. But it

wasn't right, somehow."

When Hanson showed the boy a photo and asked him what Veches was

doing in that picture, the boy shook his head and frowned.

"Sucking my toes," he replied. "I didn't really like it either."

One other boy said he liked getting piggyback rides from Veches,

but was nervous when Veches put "my foot in his mouth."

Another 7-year-old boy said Veches would be "mean" to him if he

didn't comply.

"If I wouldn't let him suck my feet, he wouldn't give me candy,"

he said.

Veches faces 28 felony counts of lewd contact with minors and one

misdemeanor count of possessing child pornography. He pleaded guilty

to the misdemeanor and not guilty on the felonies. Veches quit his

job after the allegations.

If convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of

parole for at least 25 years.

The prosecution is expected to rest its case today.

* DEEPA BHARATH covers public safety and courts. She may be

reached at (949) 574-4226 or by e-mail at deepa.bharath@latimes.com.

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