In opening statements Thursday, prosecutor Whitney Bokosky says the girl remained with Isidro Garcia out of fear until she finally went to the police in 2014.
Neighbors in Orange County have said they saw only a happy couple with a daughter.
But authorities say Garcia brought the girl to California from Mexico in 2004, and over the years he beat her and warned that she’d be arrested and deported if she tried to leave.
Garcia has pleaded not guilty to rape, kidnapping and lewd acts on a child. He could face a life sentence if convicted.
Garcia’s attorney is expected to make an opening statement Thursday afternoon.