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Police find another possible victim in sexual assault case

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Fermin Sigala, 49, who was charged with multiple counts of sexual misconduct on April 18, approaches his attorney, S. Doug Jones Witt. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

A Roswell man previously charged with multiple counts of sexual misconduct against a 15-year-old remains in the custody of the Chaves County Detention Center following a bond hearing on Monday.

Fermin Sigala, 49, was charged with criminal sexual penetration of a minor, a second-degree felony, and two third-degree counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor on April 18.

Before Chaves County District Judge Kea. W. Riggs made the decision to keep Sigala in custody, a Roswell Police Department detective provided insight into an expanding investigation.

Detective and case agent Gino T. Basile revisited much of the information mentioned in the affidavit, including a forensic interview with the 15-year-old.

“She disclosed details of three specific incidents of sexual assault and allegations of over 70 other events that she didn’t give details about,” Basile said. After deputy district attorney J. Michael Thomas asked Basile if the victim had indicated when these incidents began, the detective answered, “When she was eight years old.”

Basile was asked later about text messages recovered from the victim’s phone. “The context of the conversation is sexual in nature,” he said.

Thomas then asked Basile if there are any other victims or potential victims in the continuing investigation.

“I have identified another potential victim,” Basile said, saying that potential victim is about 20 years old. “The investigation is (in) its early stages.”

During cross-examination, Roswell defense attorney S. Doug Jones Witt clarified with Basile that Sigala was a CYFD treatment foster parent with no prior criminal history. Witt also clarified that Sigala never admitted to having a sexual relationship with the 15-year-old in the text messages recovered.

Witt also submitted three letters to Judge Riggs on behalf of Sigala from members of his family.

Thomas later said, referencing the letters, “Your honor, I reviewed the letters from counsel — while they show support for Mr. Sigala, what they show to me is that his family has been oblivious to what he’s been doing.”

Witt revisited his client’s lack of criminal history and the length of time he has lived in the community, 49 years, while also acknowledging the text messages between Sigala and the victim were “not good.”

“I’d ask the court to consider fashioning conditions of release that would allow Mr. Sigala to be out, given that these just are allegations at this time,” Witt said.

Judge Riggs then spoke, explaining that she had reviewed the affidavit submitted by Basile.

“I think categorizing the text messages from Mr. Sigala as ‘not good,’ I think is seriously undervaluing the concern it really brings to the court, based on the allegations made, and the circumstances the court has to consider,” she said. “The court has an obligation to protect the safety of the community. I’m going to order that he be held without bond at this time.”

A preliminary examination for Sigala is set for May 2 before Chaves County Magistrate Judge K.C. Rogers.

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.