Crime & Courts

Police: Man purchased girl, 14, from Guatemala, forced her into servitude

Police accuse a Morganton man of buying a teenage girl from Guatemala and forcing her into servitude.

Pasqual Mendez, 23, bought the teen from a family member of the victim and made her clean and cook and have sex with him, according to a Morganton Public Safety Department news release.

Police originally went to Mendez’s home on May 26 in response to a 911 call about an assault. Investigators learned the teen was brought from Guatemala about seven months ago. Mendez paid the family member of the victim both to bring her from Guatemala and to own her, police said. The Morganton News Herald said the child was 14.

On May 26, police charged Mendez with assault on a female, interfering with emergency communication and statutory rape of a child under 15 years of age. On Wednesday, police also charged Mendez with human trafficking a child victim. His next court date is scheduled for Aug. 31.

No one else has been charged in the case, but police said their investigation is ongoing.

The girl is being cared for with assistance from the Burke County Department of Social Services and the Burke County Child Advocacy Center, police said.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak