A Roswell man remains in custody at the Chaves County Detention Center after being charged with multiple counts of sexual misconduct involving his adopted 15-year-old daughter.
According to an affidavit filed in Chaves County Magistrate Court, 49-year-old Fermin Sigala faces a charge of second-degree felony criminal sexual penetration of a minor and two third-degree counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor following a sexual abuse investigation by the Roswell Police Department.
According to a narrative by Michael Burkowski, the RPD detective stated he responded to a residence in the 400 block of North Missouri Avenue to speak with Sigala about a report he made about his daughter not coming home
“He stated she has been acting up and going out with friends and wanted her home,” Burkowski wrote. “He said she may be trying to run away.”
After police learned the girl may have been staying with her boyfriend at a house near Spring River Zoo, Burkowski met with the 15-year-old and asked her why she had been running away from home.
“(She) stated she did not want to be home because her father was molesting her and had been since she was eight years old,” the report stated. “Detective Burkowski transported her to the Roswell Police Department where he conducted a follow-up interview.”
In the interview, the 15-year-old told police of multiple instances of sexual molestation by her adoptive father — again mentioning that it began when she was eight years old.
“(She) stated that Fermin had raped her over 100 times since it started happening,” the report stated. “Detective Burkowski asked her when the most recent time it had happened. She said he touched her on April 4, 2018.”
The 15-year-old told Burkowski of another instance of criminal sexual contact that happened about two weeks prior, and a week before that, an instance of criminal sexual penetration that allegedly took place in her room.
Police also asked the 15-year-old about text messages between her and Sigala.
“She said that he makes her delete the messages, but she has messages between them,” Burkowski wrote. “She gave him consent to search the phone and he retrieved the messages from the device.”
Burkowski stated he had found several text messages in which Sigala called his daughter “sexy” and asked for pictures of her body.
“One message alluded to someone having saved messages about them and ‘he will go to prison’ if they get out,” Burkowski wrote. “Other messages calling her ‘mine,’ and them talking about falling in love.”
Fermin Sigala denied all sexual allegations made against him and told police his daughter was “probably making it up” because she was unhappy with her boyfriend.
“Fermin said she has never said anything about this before and she has been living with him since she was eight,” the report stated. “Fermin was asked if there would be something of concern located on (the girl’s) phone. Fermin said no, but they do have a closer bond than she and her mother do.
“Fermin was asked if he did do this, if he would be honest with me. Fermin said, no, he would probably not tell me.”
According to the affidavit, the 15-year-old said whenever Sigala would make comments to her on the phone, she would turn it around and make a joke out of it to make it less serious or creepy.
The entire text conversation was printed out for Sigala.
“Fermin was asked to explain why he asked (his daughter) for a picture of her body with her hair up,” police stated. “Fermin said, ‘What’s the big idea about it?”
After asking if he remembers calling his daughter “sexy” in the text messages, police said Sigala replied, “probably, yeah.”
“He was then asked why he would do that and if he thought his daughter was sexy and he said, ‘Yeah, I think she is; she is beautiful,” police stated. “Fermin did confirm that the above conversations were between (him) and (the 15-year-old.)”
On April 6, a forensic interview was conducted with the 15-year-old. She again recounted the sexual abuse allegations against her father but also stated how Sigala had taken her out of a bad place when he adopted her.
“(She) has felt guilty to say anything because of that, but enough is enough,” the report stated. “(She) said the guilt ate her for not saying anything at the same time. (She) was afraid where she would end up if she reported it.
“She said that he is a good dad to her brother and she felt guilty to say anything. (She) said she told her dad about the last time she was interviewed and told him that she did not say anything. He asked her why she did not tell him, and she said because her little brother needs a dad.”
The 15-year-old was unable to give an exact number of how many times her father had sexually assaulted her in this interview, but said, “it was something that happened all the time.”
According to the affidavit, the 15-year-old’s mother said she has suspected something was going on, adding that Sigala has “always been infatuated” with the 15-year-old.
A bond hearing to determine Sigala’s conditions of release is set for April 30 before Chaves County District Judge Kea. W. Riggs.
A preliminary examination for Sigala is set for May 2 before Chaves County Magistrate Judge K.C. Rogers.
The case is to be prosecuted by a member of the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Sigala is to be represented by Roswell defense attorney S. Doug Jones Witt.
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.