AZTEC — A 21-year-old Bloomfield man accused of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old relative will face the first-degree felony charge in district court after he waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Thursday in magistrate court.
Brandon Thomason was arrested in July 2012 on suspicion of assaulting the young girl. His case was delayed after his attorney, Scott Curtis, questioned if Thomason was competent to stand trial.
San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said Thomason spent time at the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas and recently returned to San Juan County to face the charge.
Bloomfield police Detective Jeremiah Whitaker started investigating Thomason in May 2012 when the girl's family contacted police. The victim, who was 3 at the time, said Thomason was making sexual suggestions toward her, according to court documents.
The girl repeated the allegations in an interview at Childhaven, a organization that assists abused and neglected children in Farmington. The girl's brother, who was 5 at the time, said he saw Thomason make sexual suggestions toward his sister and try to pull down her pants, according to the documents.
In an interview with police on June 7, Thomason said he never assaulted or said anything vulgar around the victim or her brother, according to the documents.
About two weeks later, Chief Deputy District Attorney Brent Capshaw said in a letter to police that there was not enough evidence to arrest Thomason.
Thomason's arrest came after he made incriminating statements in open court during a restraining order hearing.
The girl's family attempted to get a restraining order against Thomason because of the girl's allegations. There was a hearing in front of Commissioner Cindy Grey on July 10, 2012, according to court documents.
During the hearing, the victim's mother said she wanted the protection order against Thomason but didn't have any physical evidence of an assault and no arrest had been made.
Grey said she couldn't enter a protection order without evidence
She then started asking Thomason questions.
Thomason said in court that he liked the victim and wanted to start a relationship with her. He said he pulled down her pants and performed a sex act on her, according court documents.
An affidavit for his arrest was filed about two weeks after that hearing. He is charged with criminal sexual penetration against a child under 13 years old, which is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 18 years in prison.
Curtis filed a motion questioning competency shortly after Thomason's arrest.
Thomason's mother allegedly told police her son has mental health issues and thinks he is a Transformer or other movie characters, according to court documents.
O'Brien said defendants whose competency is in question must be found to understand the judicial process and assist in their own defense.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.