HURON, S.D. — A Huron bar owner accused of raping of a 12-year-old and two 14-year-old girls who was later also charged with serving alcohol to minors while out on bond has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Werner Fajardo, of Sioux Falls, was arraigned Tuesday on two separate criminal complaints in Beadle County Court.
Fajardo was charged in November with one count of first-degree rape, three counts of third-degree rape and two counts of fourth-degree rape in the alleged attacks on the girls at his business, El Cuervo Bar, in the early hours of Oct. 30. Just weeks later he was out on $10,000 bond when he was arrested after police say they found 11 underage patrons at his bar.
Fajardo was being held at the Beadle County Jail on a $150,000 bond.
If convicted of first-degree rape, he could be sentenced to up to life in prison.
Wearing a black-and-white jail uniform and with his hands and feet shackled, Fajardo told Circuit Judge Jon R. Erickson of Huron, via a Spanish translator, that he understood the charges and requested jury trials. Erickson set trial dates of Feb. 23 and March 28.
Michael R. Moore, Beadle County's state's attorney, said Fajardo apparently knew the three girls whom he is accused of raping at his bar.
"The bar was closed, but the defendant started mixing drinks for the girls," police said in an affidavit accompanying the Nov. 18 criminal complaint filed in the rape case.
The girls told an officer they passed out or became incapacitated and felt as if they could not move. One girl said Fajardo touched her inappropriately. A second reported waking up with pain that led her to believe she had been raped. The third said she remembers Fajardo having sex with her.
Moore said one of the girls reported the alleged rapes on Nov. 11, and the girls were then examined by Child's Voice, a Sioux Falls organization that conducts examinations and interviews of children in such cases. Investigators are still trying to determine if the girls had been drugged, he said.
Fajardo is charged with first-degree and third-degree rape for the alleged attack on the younger girl, and counts of third-degree rape and fourth-degree rape for each of the alleged attacks on the 14-year-old girls. He is also charged with furnishing alcohol to those younger than 18, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and serving alcohol after hours.
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