Farmington man exonerated in sex assault case

Steve Garrison

FARMINGTON — A magistrate judge determined Thursday that there was insufficient evidence to arraign Navor "Buddy" Tafoya on sex assault charges.

Judge Trudy Reed-Chase dismissed charges of third- and fourth-degree criminal sexual penetration, as well as false imprisonment, against Tafoya, 76, after hearing evidence during a preliminary examination hearing on Thursday.

San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said Friday that the alleged victim testified, "but ultimately the judge did not find probable cause."

Tafoya's attorney, Steve Murphy, said Tafoya underwent a polygraph test and was found to be truthful when questioned about the alleged assault.

Murphy said he was able to prove the alleged victim's story was incorrect on "key points." He said a judge also denied the alleged victim a temporary restraining order after a hearing on Nov. 30.

"The alleged victim's story started to fall apart early on," according to Murphy.

A 57-year-old woman accused Tafoya of sexually assaulting her on Sept. 29, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

She told detectives she borrowed $240 from Tafoya, and he appeared on Sept. 9 at her house on County Road 5479 and forced himself on her and groped her, the affidavit states.

Tafoya's wife told detectives her husband was advised by his attorney not to provide a statement, the affidavit states.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.