HOUSTON The criminal trial began Tuesday for the former Houston police officer accused of arresting a woman and repeatedly sexually assaulting her at a southwest Houston park.

Abraham Joseph, 27, was fired from the HPD job he d only held for a year-and-a-half after he was indicted for sexual assault.

The woman, a waitress and immigrant from El Salvador, said Joseph arrested her and a male companion in January of last year. He dropped off the man by the side of a road and drove her to a dark corner of Townwood Park. She said she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by the officer while handcuffed.

Prosecutors say Joseph used his position as a police officer to target a victim who spoke little English and was afraid her immigration status would be threatened if she reported the assault.

The young woman did call police. She led officers back to the park several hours later where prosecutors say physical evidence of the assault was recovered.

Defense attorneys say Joseph is guilty of bad judgment, but that whatever happened in that park back in 2011 was consensual.

Several witnesses, including Houston police officers and the woman's family members, testified on Tuesday.

Joseph's accuseris expected to take the stand on Wednesday.

If convicted, he could get up to life in prison.

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