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DA's office is missing evidence in sexual assault case against local OB-GYN, his lawyers allege

Motion filed in Dr. Juan Villarreal sexual assault case
DR. VILLARREAL.PNG
Posted at 5:23 PM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 21:18:44-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — UPDATE (12:33 p.m. Thursday): Lisa Greenberg, Barroso's co-counsel in the case, issued a letter to Nueces County ADA Will Greenlee on Thursday requesting "you preserve and not allow destruction of any evidence in any way relating to" Villarreal's case.

The letter mentions all employee reports, internal incident reports and statements, email and texts, and asks Greenlee — who is prosecuting the case — ask the same of everyone else in the office.

ORIGINAL:

Attorneys for a Calallen OB-GYN who's accused of sexually assaulting some of his patients are claiming evidence in his case may have been lost.

Late Wednesday afternoon, KRIS 6 News learned that Dr. Juan Villarreal's attorneys filed a motion "to disclose and designate lost evidence and request for hearing."

“We absolutely don’t know what it is and that’s what we’re trying to find out. It could be very crucial evidence,” Ron Barroso, a defense attorney for Villarreal said.

The motion was filed in the 148th District Court.

According to court documents obtained by KRIS 6 News, the motion alleges a prosecutor with the Nueces County District Attorney's Office handling the case admitted evidence in the case is missing.

Barroso said that assistant district attorney was put on the case about a month ago.

“We haven’t been told what evidence is missing," said Barroso. How do they know it’s missing? What the evidence is composed of, whether it’s exculpatory, whether it’s mitigating, the nature of it, and how long have they known it’s been missing?”

The motion also alleges the DA's office would not have disclosed the missing evidence, if the defense had not asked.

Barroso said he learned of the situation a week and a half ago after confronting the assistant district attorney.

Villarreal's attorneys have asked for a hearing to determine why the missing evidence was not disclosed, and to determine whether any evidence has been tampered with.

Villarreal is facing 14 felony counts of sexual assault, and there are 14 alleged victims.

Frances Wilson, president and CEO of the advocacy group Purple Door, said this development could take a toll on the alleged victims.

“It’s just one more disappointment for all those victims," she said. "One more barrier to them receiving the justice that they feel like they deserve.”

Villarreal and the alleged victims have been waiting for a trial since the indictment in October 2018. Barroso and Wilson hope everyone gets their day in court.

“I really hope that those victims and survivors don’t get too discouraged. And I hope one day they do get their day in court,” Wilson said.

As Barroso awaits a response, he said he's perplexed by the situation. There was a recent motion hearing where he said all evidence was to be turned over to the defense.

Barroso said this missing evidence was not brought up.

“It does make me wonder, if this evidence that they know is missing and they didn’t tell us about, whether or not there’s more, that they may not even know is missing," he said. "And that’s what we’re trying to figure out.”

The Texas Medical Board has temporarily suspended Villarreal's license in early 2019 after three of his patients came forward with allegations that they had been sexually assaulted by Villarreal.

He is set to go to trial October 12.