BURKE COUNTY, NC (The News Herald) – A Morganton man will spend at least 12 years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to the statutory rape of a 14-year-old female he bought from Guatemala.
Pasqual Mendez, 24, of 110 Oak St., Morganton, was given an active prison term of 12 to 19 years in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections by Superior County Judge Daniel A. Kuehnert of Burke County.
Mendez who was employed at Case Farms, was charged with felony human trafficking of a child, assault on a female, interfering with emergency communication and statutory rape of a child less than 15 years of age, according to a previous News Herald article.
He also will be required to register as a sex offender for a period of 30 years.
Officers from Morganton Department of Public Safety responded to a call in May 2016 for an assault at a residence in Morganton. The victim was found crying in the back yard and told officers that Mendez hit her and shoved her down because she did not cook dinner, according to a release from the District Attorney’s said.
During a forensic interview with the Gingerbread House Child Advocacy Center, the victim told investigators that her mother and Mendez arranged the relationship, and she met him for the first time when she arrived at the airport in Charlotte, the release said.
Her life consisted of cooking and cleaning for him and being forced to engage in sexual activity with him every day. She informed investigators she did not want the sexual acts to take place and tried to push away the defendant. After a medical examination, it revealed that she was pregnant, the release said.
The victim is in custody of the Burke County Department of Social Services. She has no known family in the area.
Kyle Goforth investigated the case for Morganton Department of Public Safety. Assistant District Attorney Michelle Lippert handled prosecution for the State.
Mendez alleged the two were married and told officers he had purchased the 14-year-old girl from Guatemala six months earlier, the release said.