They were "six little boys who loved and admired their teacher and their friend" a teacher and friend who sexually molested them at their neighborhood school, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
And in her opening statements to the jury, Deputy District Attorney Shauna Franklin predicted that once the panel has heard from the six victims, it will come back with guilty verdicts against Shane Adair Vicars in the molestations that rocked Sierra Oaks Elementary School in the Arden Arcade area a little more than two years ago.
"You'll hear from all these boys that Shane Vicars was the most fun," Franklin said. "He played games with them. He played ball with them. He had motivational games to make sure they behaved. Kids loved him. Especially boys."
Vicars, 27, is charged on 22 separate counts that investigators said occurred in the 18 months before he was taken into custody Jan. 6, 2010. At the time of his arrest, Vicars taught in the school's Discovery Club after-school program.
Defense attorney Shannon Baker proclaimed Vicars' innocence in her opening statement to the Sacramento Superior Court jury. Baker suggested that a student angered because of disciplinary actions Vicars had taken against him was the first to lodge a complaint with his parents.
The accusation then set off a storm of emails and rumors in which parents may have planted notions about sexual molestation into the minds of their children, Baker said.
"I'm sure some of you will be thinking, 'How in the world could six different children be making false allegations?' " Baker said. At the conclusion of her summation, the defense lawyer said, "The answer is they really aren't so different at all."
All of the boys were between the ages of 7 and 11 when they were allegedly molested. Two of them took the witness stand Wednesday, including one who said Vicars molested him four or five times in the teachers lounge, after the defendant had taken the boy to use the restroom there.
The boy said Vicars had always been "pretty fun. He'd always play games with us and stuff." The boy testified that Vicars first would rub his stomach. Then, the boy said, the teacher would use a ruse to get him to touch the defendant elsewhere. The boy said the touching made him feel "uncomfortable."
"I mean, it was just kind of awkward to do that to an adult," he testified, under questioning from Franklin. The boy said he eventually told his parents "because it's something not right to do."
On cross-examination, the boy said that in the weeks before Vicars was arrested amid significant publicity in the Sacramento media market, "maybe a few kids" had been talking about rumors of the teacher getting fired, "for what he would do to kids."