Man sentenced to 18 years for molesting his daughter

A sexual predator who avoided prosecution for more than a year, perhaps by hiding in his native Philippines, was sentenced to 18 years in prison Thursday for sexually abusing his daughter.

At one point, Eduardo Naval was considered one of San Francisco’s 10 most wanted fugitives, prompting a manhunt by the U.S. Marshals Service. In April 2004, he disappeared after his daughter, then 13-years-old, told her mother she was the victim of more than five years of molestation.

Naval, 50, threatened to kill the family after the girl’s mother confronted him about the sexual assaults, authorities said. When the mother locked the girl and her younger brother inside a closet, Naval allegedly used a hammer to break open the door, stopping the onslaught only when he heard the approach of sirens.

Though authorities suspectNaval was hiding for more than a year in his native Philippines, U.S. Marshals eventually arrested him at a residence on Mission Circle in Daly City on Nov. 28, 2005.

He was convicted in October after a five-week trial in which the jury deliberated for three days. Naval had no criminal record at the time of the molestation.

District Attorney Kamala Harris said the sentence helps “send a loud signal” that authorities will aggressively prosecute sexual assaults. Naval’s sentence was a couple of years short of the maximum sentence, and he will eventually be eligible for parole.

Harris highlighted the case Thursday because of what she called a “huge problem” in reporting sexual assault cases, especially when a minor is required to take the stand. Oftentimes, she said, victims feel they put themselves at risk by reporting a sex crime without any confidence that the suspect will be prosecuted.

“It happens far more frequently than it’s reported,” Harris said. “Often because victims believe nothing will happen if they report.”

bbegin@examiner.com

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