Rojo trial begins second day of testimony

Staff Writer

The trial of a former Big Spring police officer charged with multiple sex crimes was expected to resume this morning in the 118th District.
On Tuesday, the trial began around 9 a.m. when Joel Rojo, a former Big Spring detective, pleaded not guilty to four indictments — indecency with a child by sexual conduct, sexual performance by a child, indecency with a child by exposure, and attempted indecency with a child by exposure.
It was a long and sometimes emotional day in the courtroom, as jury members heard testimony from eight witnesses for the prosecution, including two of the three alleged minor victims. As the prosecutor presented his case Tuesday, District Attorney Hardy Wilkerson attempted to paint Rojo as someone who used his power and authority as a police officer to take advantage of troubled children to place them into compromising and revealing positions.
Specifically, during their testimony Tuesday, the two minor victims alleged that Rojo asked them to expose their private parts so he could take pictures of them. According to the victims, Rojo used an investigation as a pretext for the request.
Rojo is also accused of allegedly transporting the girls on separate occasions to an isolated area, where he told them he needed to take photos of their private parts for his investigation, they said individually during their testimony.
The first day of the trial ended during the testimony of Texas Ranger Jeffery Strain, who conducted the investigation after the first allegations of Rojo’s misconduct arose in August 2015. Strain was expected to retake the stand when the trial resumed this morning at 9 a.m.