Pasco man representing himself acquitted in child molestation case

Tri-City HeraldNovember 30, 2012 

— A Pasco man who represented himself on allegations he inappropriately touched a grade-school boy was acquitted by a judge.

Neftali Silverio Camacho, 30, was released from the Franklin County jail on Thursday following the ruling by Superior Court Judge Robert Swisher.

Swisher, who presided over the two-day trial, said after hearing testimony he could not find Camacho guilty of first-degree child molestation.

Camacho -- whose first name in court documents also is listed as Neftale -- had opted not to have a jury.

And in the weeks before trial, he argued that he should be able to defend himself. After much consideration, another judge granted the request and told defense lawyer Shelley Ajax, who'd represented Camacho up to that point, to serve as standby counsel.

Ajax on Friday told the Herald, "We are very pleased that justice was served and that Mr. Camacho was cleared of these accusations."

Camacho had been in jail since January for allegedly inappropriately touching the boy in October 2006.

The boy's mother had reported the incident to Pasco police in June 2011 after the boy came forward with repeated claims. The mother at the time said she didn't have any details about what happened, but said the boy recently saw Camacho and that brought up the memories, according to court documents.

The boy claimed that Camacho would laugh and giggle as he touched him, documents said.

Camacho was charged in October 2011 and arrested three months later on a warrant.

During a January court appearance, Camacho told a judge, "It's commendable that you're judging and prosecuting criminals but please don't judge the book by its cover."

This is the second time Camacho has represented himself in trial, with much different results.

He was convicted by a Franklin County jury in November 2010 of trying to lure four boys to his home.

In that case, Camacho had asked the boys at the Pasco Rite Aid store to go to his house and watch videos with them. When the kids declined, he gave them his home address.

He called it a "neighborhood tradition."

Camacho received a six-month jail sentence for the luring, and continues to claim he is innocent.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service