Waco: Appeal denied in continuous child sexual abuse case

The McLennan County Courthouse. (Photo by Paul J. Gately/file)
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WACO,Texas (KWTX) Justices on the 10th Court of Appeals in Waco Thursday denied an appeal filed for a McLennan County man who was convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a young child.

David Navarro was convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a young child and of indecency with a child by contact and he appealed arguing the statute under which he was convicted for the indecency charge is unconstitutional.

The three justices affirmed the 19th District Court's convictions on both charges and affirmed Navarro's sentences.

Navarro was convicted on two 2014 cases and was sentenced to life in prison on the sexual abuse charge and to 20 years on the indecency charge, both Judge Ralph Strother ordered served concurrently.

Navarro and a woman met and began living together, along with the woman's daughter in 2007 or 2008, the appeals court record shows.

The relationship ended in late 2011 or early 2012.

Then in July 2013, the woman's daughter made an outcry that her mother's boyfriend had sexually abused her some 10 times between her 3rd and 6th grade years.

The 10th Court said Navarro's argument that section 21.02 of the Texas Penal Code is on its face unconstitutional in relation to the indecency conviction, is not supported by law.

Navarro argued that since state law requires a unanimous jury to convict in a felony criminal case, that same standard should be held to jury deliberations on separate issues of the case.

Navarro's argument revolved around an issue known as jury unanimity because under current law, while a conviction requires a unanimous vote, when a jury decides on specific elements of the crime, it need not be of one voice.

In effect, what that means is if prosecutors present a number of things that happened over a range of time, any jury member can decide that any of those pieces of evidence was true, but a juror can choose any one of the several issues admitted and the jury does not have to agree on which event was the true case, as long as every jury member agrees the defendant violated the law during one of those incidents.

In this case, justices agreed, each juror found that the defendant "committed the same, single, specific criminal act," and that each juror must unanimously agree on all elements of the crime to convict," the court said in its opinion.

In summation on the issue the justices said the same issue has been raised at several intermediate-level appeals courts over the past several years and in each case the court has said the law is constitutional.

On the other point of appeal Navarro argued that the trial court erred by admitting extraneous evidence during his trial.

The court simply said: "We disagree with Navarro.

"Having overruled each issue on appeal, we affirm the trial court's judgments," the opinion states.