VISTA, Calif. — An Oceanside couple who forced their 12-year-old niece to cook, clean and have sex with men, including an uncle, pleaded guilty Monday to felony charges that will keep them in prison for years.
Marcial Garcia Hernandez, 45, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault and lewd act on a child and will be sentenced to 23 years to life in prison on May 20.
His wife, 43-year-old Inez Martinez Garcia, pleaded guilty to three lewd act counts and will be sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
The couple was arrested in November after a two-and-a-half-year “cold case” investigation into the victim’s allegations, sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Mata said.
The girl, now 24, told investigators she was brought to the United States from Mexico when she was 12 with promises of a better life and an education.
When she arrived at the couples’ home, however, she was forced to care for their three children, cook and clean the house under the threat of violence, including beatings, Mata said.
The victim was forced to have sex with Hernandez over a 21-month period, Mata said. When she refused to have sex, or did not complete her assigned tasks in a timely or correct manner, she was beaten, he said.
At one point, the victim lied about her age to work at a restaurant, and Garcia took her pay, Mata said. She was later forced to have sex with older men for money, Mata said.
The victim was eventually taken into protective custody after Garcia beat her, and someone reported it to police. She was then reunited with her family in Mexico.
The case was put on hold while the victim was in Mexico, but later revived when she returned to the United States and came forward with her story, Mata said.