Father of murdered child testifies
WORTHINGTON -- Samuel Fraga told the jury his older brother Josue had sexually molested him several times while they were teens during Tuesday's testimony.
Josue Fraga faces first-degree murder charges in the death of his 2-year-old niece Samantha. He is accused of sexually molesting and physically assaulting her. She died of head trauma, but had noticeable trauma to her genitals and anus when she was brought to the hospital by her uncle and his wife.
Samuel, Samantha's father, came back to Minnesota to testify under a compact that allows him to enter the state to testify without being arrested on a warrant.
Samuel said his wife died when she was 28 of complications from a tooth infection while the couple and their three children were living in Worthington. She was reportedly in poor health due to diabetes.
Samuel said his brother Josue was five years older and would sexually harass him, while growing up in Texas Later, he sexually assaulted him at least four different times, he claimed.
"Did you tell anyone?" asked Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Bill Klumpp.
"I told my mom," Samuel replied. "She told me to stop lying."
Josue would push Samuel's face forward and warn him to quit yelling during his attacks, Samuel said. After trying to tell his mother what had happened, he said he was too embarrassed and ashamed to tell anyone else.
After his wife died, he said he got involved with a woman who used methamphetamine, started using it himself, and eventually his two younger children were taken away by social services in June 2007. His older son was visiting an aunt in Texas at the time.
Samuel said he requested his children be placed with Josue and his wife so he would still be able to visit them.
"Why would you ask your brother to take of your children, knowing what he had done to you?" Klumpp asked.
"I believed he had outgrown it," Samuel said. "He has four kids and takes care of them good."
Because Samantha had been born three months premature and was frail, her parents had received SSI (supplemental security income) for her care. Before his wife died, she was the payee on the approximate $600 a month, but after her death, months before the children went to live with Josue. Josue was named the payee on the account because there was a felony pending against Samuel, he said, so the check went to Josue, who would then give Samuel money for rent and to care for the children. When the children were taken away, Josue refused to help him pay rent any longer, Samuel said.
Eventually Samuel found himself living out of a storage unit, so he decided to head to Texas, where he now takes care of his parents, who are both disabled. He left Minnesota while still on parole.
Samuel said he contacted Josue a few months after moving and said he wanted his children back, but Josue refused, saying there was a court order involved and they couldn't just be sent to Texas. Some time later, Samuel visited a social services office in Texas regarding custody of his older son, and told the social worker there of Josue's alleged sexual abuse. By the end of February 2008, he had filed a written affidavit regarding the facts.
Samantha's father was not informed of her death on March 20 until 6 or 7 days later, when a nephew called Samuel's parents and informed them. He did not learn the details until he called family services in Nobles County, he said.
Defense attorney Cecil Naatz asked Samuel about the differences in what he had told the social worker in Texas and the affidavit he had filed -- the written statement had his age at the time of the molestations at about 15, while he had told the social worker he was 12 or 13.
"I was wrong probably on the ages," Samuel stated. "I was very young. We were teenagers."
Naatz also questioned a statement Samuel had made to a Worthington detective about parties Josue would have at his house and concern he had voiced over Josue having pornographic movies at home.
"He had a closet full of porn movies," Samuel testified. "He would sell them...Take a box of them in his trunk to the (Worthington) soccer field and sell them."
Tuesday's proceedings also included testimony from several Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) forensic scientists regarding crime scene and DNA testing. BCA forensic scientist Alyssa Vance testified that areas tested on several of the criminal exhibits contained the DNA of various household members. On the diaper worn by Samantha when she was brought into ER, DNA from Samantha and someone else was found, but all household members were excluded from the DNA mixture.
Today's testimony is scheduled to include information from Worthington Det. Sgt. Kevin Flynn and a BCA special agent.