A Colorado man was handed a 17-year jail term on Wednesday (4 October) after he pleaded guilty to buying a 15-year-old girl from Mexico and fathering her child.
Erik Castillo had bought the teen from her father and had asked him to send her over to the US to live with him.
The 44-year-old pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault with serious bodily injury and attempted sexual assault. However, charges against him related to human trafficking for sexual servitude were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Castillo, who has been living in the US for 25 years, had contacted the girl on Facebook as she wanted to come to the US to get an education and improve her life, the Adams County district attorney's office said. The girl was an American citizen but was raised in Mexico.
But when she came to the US, instead of enrolling her at a school, the man kept her in isolation and never let her go outside except for grocery shopping.
He also repeatedly raped her and when she fell pregnant, took her to a doctor pretending to be her uncle. The teenager has since given birth to Castillo's child.
The accused had earlier said that he was trying to help the girl and did not know that he was committing a crime.
But his claims were refuted by Adams County District judge Robert Kiesnowski Jr, who said: "You have been in the United States nearly 25 years. This was a 15-year-old girl. You are 44 years old.
"This is a particularly egregious case. 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."