BENTONVILLE -- A Rogers man was sentenced to 40 years in prison after admitting to sexually assaulting a teenage girl.
Hector Figueroa-Vasquez, 38, pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of sexual assault. Matt Reid, Figueroa-Vasquez's attorney, negotiated a plea agreement to resolve the case with Tim McDonald, deputy prosecutor.
Figueroa-Vasquez was arrested in October 2021.
Rogers police received information a 16-year-old girl had been kidnapped after crossing the border illegally and was being sexually abused, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Police were told the girl was at a home on North Second Street in Rogers and was being physically and sexually abused by a man named "Melvin" and he would release her for $4,000, according to the affidavit.
Police went to the home and spoke with Figueroa-Vasquez and another person. Both denied knowing Melvin or the girl, according to the affidavit. Police found the girl and she denied the allegations. She was placed in the custody of Arkansas Department of Human Services due to being an unaccompanied juvenile.
Police later received a report from the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline the teen and another girl had been brought into the country illegally and were being sold for sex, the affidavit states.
The teen was interviewed at the Child Safety Center in Springdale, and she described being abused by Melvin on three nights, according to the affidavit. She said he raped her and told her it was in exchange for bringing her to the city, according to the affidavit.
She reported Melvin paid someone to smuggle her into the country, pretended to be her father to get her out of the custody of immigration officials and brought her to Arkansas, the affidavit states.
Police determined Figueroa-Vasquez was the person the girl knew as Melvin, according to the affidavit.
Figueroa-Vasquez denied raping the girl and claimed the girl's father had arranged for her to come into the country, according to the affidavit.
In court Monday, McDonald read a statement from the victim, who said she suffers from depression when she remembers being abused by Figueroa-Vasquez.
"I feel uncomfortable and insecure about myself," she said in the statement. "It was not what I wanted, and now I am different. Now, I am a girl who looks happy on the outside, but I suffer inside. This has been noticed by my parents, sisters, brother, and close relatives. They see that I am not the happy girl from before."
Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren accepted the plea agreement and Figueroa-Vasquez's guilty plea.
Figueroa-Vasquez was sentenced to 40 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections. He will have to serve 10 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
He will be required to register as a sex offender and complete a sex offender treatment program. The judge ordered Figueroa-Vasquez not to have any contact with the victim or unsupervised contact with any minors.