A man who pleaded guilty to paying a 15-year-old girl’s father to send her from Mexico to the United States to live with him has been sentenced to 17 years in prison, the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
Erik Castillo, 44, pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault with serious bodily injury and attempted sexual assault. As part of a plea agreement, charges for human trafficking for sexual servitude and sexual assault by a person in a position of trust were dismissed.
“This is a particularly egregious case,” Adams County District Judge Robert Kiesnowski Jr. said in a news release. “The defendant tried to trade money for this young lady. This reflects a belief that people can be bought and sold.
“They can’t be. That is moral and inhumane – especially a 15-year-old girl.”
Prosecutors say Castillo approached the victim on Facebook and arranged to bring her to the U.S. The girl, who according to the DA’s office was a U.S. citizen who was raised in Mexico, “wanted to come to the United States to improve her life and obtain an education.”
Castillo never enrolled her in school, according to prosecutors, and repeatedly sexually assaulted her. He only let her outside the house to go to the grocery store, the news release said.
The victim has since given birth to Castillo’s child. Prosecutors say when he brought her to the doctor, he said he was her uncle.
Castillo said in court that he didn’t know what he was doing was illegal – a claim rejected by Kiesnowski Jr.
“You have been in the United States nearly 25 years,” Kiesnowski Jr. said. “This was a 15-year-old girl. You are 44 years old.”