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Judge recommends overturning former SAPD officer's child-rape conviction

Photo: Michael Barajas, License: N/A

Michael Barajas

Frank Navarijo, 74, at a court hearing to re-examine his case in November, 2012.


As with Navarijo's case, a child victim last year came forward and recanted the story, claiming she was forced to testify to an assault that never happened. And Dr. Nancy Kellogg, head of pediatrics at University of Texas Health Science Center and largely considered the state's foremost authority on child sexual abuse, examined the victims and provided court testimony in both cases that helped secure convictions.

Experts the Current spoke with last year say that in the cases of the San Antonio Four and Navarijo the science, both then and now, doesn't support Kellogg's findings that physical exams of the victims proved that sexual abuse occurred. Navarijo was convicted a year after the last of the San Antonio Four were sentenced.

Kellogg has declined to comment on the cases publicly.

A reading of the transcript shows Navarijo's conviction largely hinged on Kellogg's testimony in court, and there's indication her findings carried enormous weight with jurors as they struggled with the decision. As juror Monica Moreno recalled last year, the physical evidence is what swayed the jury. "That just showed us the real damage that had been done to that poor little girl," she said.

The CCA will likely decide whether to overturn Navarijo's conviction sometime in the next 3 to 6 months, Valdez with the Bexar County DA's office said. "Quite honestly, given the record, I can't imagine they wouldn't."

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