Home | News | U.S. Headlines | South Dakota bar owner Werner Fajardo charged with raping 3 girls

South Dakota bar owner Werner Fajardo charged with raping 3 girls

By
Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
Werner Fajardo Werner Fajardo  

The shots of alcohol and mixed drinks began flowing in the early morning hours. Three friends — two 14-year-olds and a 12-year-old — were supposed to be babysitting over a Saturday night. Instead, police say, they met up with a bar owner, who drove them to his closed tavern and began pouring them drinks — vodka shots, orange juice and vodka, vodka and coke and energy drinks.

Two of the girls say they got sick, and all three say they either passed out or fell asleep at the bar.



That's when, according to prosecutors, 34-year-old Werner Fajardo raped each of them. Fajardo, who owns and operates a bar in the South Dakota city of Huron, was charged with six counts of rape and three counts of giving alcohol to minors. He was released after posting a $10,000 cash bond.

A week later, the Huron Police Department conducted its first-ever alcohol compliance check of the El Cuervo bar. When police discovered 11 minors inside, Fajardo was arrested a second time and charged with violating beverage laws, five counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor and allowing people under the age of 21 on the premises.

Fajardo, who has not publicly discussed the cases, pleaded not guilty to all the charges during an arraignment on Dec. 20 and requested jury trials in both cases. He is being held on $150,000 bond. Fajardo's lawyer has not responded to repeated requests for comment.

City leaders have scheduled a public hearing Friday to consider whether to recommend that the state Department of Revenue revoke or suspend Fajardo's liquor license.

El Cuervo, located on the first floor of a two-story building along one of Huron's main streets, regularly posts signs promoting a teen night, said Sheila Moore, manager of Homecare Services, an independent living agency next door.

"I questioned how they were able to have teen night in a bar," she said. "We saw teenagers go in and out."

According to police, Fajardo exploited an outdated ordinance that allowed 18- to 21-year-olds in an establishment serving alcohol if it was designated as a dance hall. City records show Fajardo applied for the dance hall license in June 2010, and it took effect two months later. The ordinance was repealed soon after, but El Cuervo apparently still welcomed minors.

It was through the teen nights that Fajardo met the girls, said Michael R. Moore, Beadle County's state's attorney.

Police said until Fajardo's arrest they had no knowledge of underage drinking or any other crimes at the bar, said Sgt. Brandon Neitzert, spokesman for the Huron Police Department. He said police have not regularly conducted alcohol compliance checks at bars around town for years.

"Obviously we were missing some things. Whether or not it could have been caught with compliance checks at El Cuervo, we'll never know," he said, adding that the department is planning to increase police presence at bars.

There's no sign marking El Cuervo anymore — neighbors say someone took it down in the middle of the night a few weeks ago — and the building is locked, but remnants of the bar and club remain. An unlit neon Bud Light sign hangs inside the window, while a faded red canopy with yellow stenciled letters advertising "bar," ''Latino" and "baile" — the Spanish word for dance — remains in front of the red-brick building. Police say it was the only establishment licensed as a dance hall in Huron, a town of about 13,000 people 120 miles northwest of Sioux Falls

Sheila Moore, who is not related to the state's attorney, wasn't working when the bar was open during the weekends, but said she often saw the leftover signs of raucous times — broken glass, blood on the bar's windows and beer bottles — when she arrived to work on Mondays.

Fajardo, who authorities say lives in Sioux Falls and traveled to Huron on the weekends to run the bar, is charged with first-degree and third-degree rape for the alleged attack on the 12-year-old girl, and counts of third-degree rape and fourth-degree rape for each of the alleged attacks on the 14-year-old girls. If convicted of first-degree rape, he could be sentenced to up to life in prison.

According to court documents, after drinking several mixed drinks and vodka shots, the three girls passed out or became so groggy, they felt as if they couldn't move. Fajardo allegedly touched one of the girls' genitals. A second woke up and found Fajardo pulling up her underwear and pants and saw a condom wrapper on the table next to her, authorities say. The 12-year-old told police she awoke with memories of Fajardo having sex with her.

That was Oct. 30. It wasn't until one of the 14-year-olds told her parents on Nov. 11 about the alleged rape that authorities began to uncover allegations of underage drinking and sexual assaults at El Cuervo. Police questioned the girl's friends as potential witnesses — and heard two of them say they had been assaulted the same night, according to Moore, the prosecutor.

"They all told a similar story of what happened that night — that they drank this alcohol and then passed out. They all had similar memories of what happened, but none of them were able to say what happened to the other person," he said.

The girls were 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, but Moore, the state's attorney, said too much time had passed for physical evidence.

Fajardo is also charged with sexual contact with a person incapable of consenting and sexual exploitation of a minor for two alleged incidents in September involving different victims that were uncovered after the original three girls spoke with police.

His trial on the six rape charges, various sexual assault charges and furnishing alcohol to minors is set for March 28. He will be tried on the beverage law violation on Feb. 23.

"It's not good. I have two daughters. I'm really offended," said Jim Brockhoft, the owner of an audio and video store across the street from the building that houses El Cuervo.

Other neighbors say they had heard talk that illegal activity was taking place at El Cuervo but didn't have proof.

"I've heard rumors there were minors," said Sue Harrington, who works at a bar across the street from El Cuervo. But, she added, "you hear rumors all the time."

 

  1. Teens Jekari Strozier, Antonio Pass, Johnathan Anthony, Kemonta Bonds charged in death of Mableton man (5.00)

  2. Doctors cure leukemia in a few patients by altering their blood cells (5.00)

  3. Emily Whitehead: The cancer girl cured by using HIV virus to re-wire her immune system (5.00)

  4. Bigfoot-like beast has hikers running scared in Utah's Provo Canyon (5.00)

  5. Joe Biden Shotgun: YouTube video appears of women trying (and failing) to take his 12-gauge advice (5.00)

  6. Guide dog saves man and woman from swerving vehicle (5.00)

  7. 'Proof' Jesus was married found on ancient papyrus that mentions how son of God spoke of his wife and Mary Magdalene (5.00)

  8. Does Febreze Air Effects give odors the boot? (5.00)

  9. How your dog can read your mind: He'll steal food when he knows you won't look - and can tell you're going out from your make-up (5.00)

  10. He sure took his time: Scientist who spent 15 years inspecting women's breast claims they are 'better off without bras' (5.00)

  11. SEARCH: 24-hour jail bookings for Savannah-Chatham County (5.00)

  12. Long County deputy arrested on child cruelty charges (5.00)

  13. Mother of shooting victim speaks out (5.00)

  14. Rihanna's Dad Sells Pictures of Teenage Rihanna, 'Secret Family' to Tabloids (5.00)

  15. Octomom poses nude and now goes on welfare to help 14 kids: report (5.00)

  16. Bieber 'thrown out of Paris hotel for bad behavior' (5.00)

  17. Lindsey Vonn waits in car for ONE hour to avoid run in with Tiger's ex-wife Elin Nordegren (5.00)

  18. Ashley Judd dress (5.00)

  19. Hulk Hogan’s daughter Brooke engaged to Cowboys center Phil Costa (5.00)

  20. Hospitality executive Tom Sponseller found dead in office garage in apparent suicide (5.00)

  21. Texas Man Larry Dunn Jr stabbed girlfriend who told him she had HIV to death (5.00)

  22. Driver Services Location in Warner Robins, GA (5.00)

  23. Fashion publicist Raul Barrera found guilty of murdering and mutilating his girlfriend after she tried to break up with him (5.00)

  24. 29-year-old Texas man Thomas Olivas 'killed ex-girlfriend, 26, and burned baby boy over child support payments' (5.00)

  25. Florida woman Jillian Martone 'attacks man with kitchen knife after first date for refusing to be her boyfriend' (5.00)

  26. Catholic school custodian John Martin admits to using hidden cameras to spy on students (5.00)

  27. Church shooting in Pennsylvania leaves 4 dead, 2 injured (5.00)

  28. New York Jewish counselor Nechemya Weberman sentenced to 103 years for sexual abuse (5.00)

  29. Desperate search for two missing Boy Scouts Bradley Nelson, Jackson Chandler after wilderness hike (5.00)

  30. Tenn. Man Randolph Maidens Charged With Murder in Wife's Death (5.00)

  31. Couple Terry and Victoria Smith 'kept naked six-year-old autistic son in CAGE and fed him hot dogs through the bars' (5.00)

  32. DUI suspect Sherri Wilkins 'drives more than 2 miles with man she fatally struck stuck in the windshield of her car' (5.00)

  33. Little Falls Man Byron Smith Accused of Killing Two Teen Burglars, Not Reporting Shooting (5.00)

  34. Oregon couple Christopher Martin and Jessica Stroble accused of sex acts on Vegas-bound flight (5.00)

  35. Barrow Co. firefighter Willie Etheridge Jr. fired after being charged with child porn (5.00)

  36. Morgan Lide: Cobb County high school student dies during study abroad (5.00)

  37. Suspect Brian Levern Gupton sought in fatal shooting at DeKalb apartment complex (5.00)

  38. Clayton Jerrod Ellington: Death penalty tossed out in Ga. triple murder case (5.00)

  39. Ruben Marin-Garibay arrested in fatal hit-and-run of Henry Co. officer Elgin Daniel (5.00)

  40. Guard Larry Stell fatally stabbed at Telfair State Prison (5.00)

  41. 'Hunger Games' sequel gives boost to Ga. economy (5.00)

  42. Mural of nude women in Atlanta to be covered up after community outrage (5.00)

  43. Sources: Andrea Sneiderman indicted in husband Rusty Sneiderman's death (5.00)

  44. Co-workers Michelle Chinnis, Tracy Downer killed in horrific tractor-trailer wreck (5.00)

  45. Matthew Pike, William Slaton, Daniel Slaton indicted in death of man found floating in Ocmulgee River (5.00)

  46. Clayton County Man Craig Davis faces charges of exposing two women to HIV (5.00)

  47. Teacher Shannon Schmieder Sentenced to 40 Years for Affair with 14 Year Old (5.00)

  48. Shopkeeper Atibi Thomas faces 25 years in prison for 'shooting' policeman Keith Roach whom he thought was a criminal (5.00)

  49. 6 charged with killing Norcross teen Nicholas Jackson (5.00)

  50. Teacher Almarcus Thomas accused of statutory rape, videotaping student (5.00)

 
  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Rate this article

0

Photo Galleries

PHOTOS: Plastic Surgery Celebrity Awkward family photos 
 
UPDATED: Faces of Meth PHOTOS: Celebrities all a-Twitter

More galleries ››

 
 
 
 
Weather for Atlanta, GA, US
Now
72°F
Windchill: 72°F
Partly Cloudy
Georgia Weather
Mon
High: 91°F
Low: 73°F
Partly Cloudy
Georgia Weather
Tue
High: 83°F
Low: 65°F
Scattered Thunderstorms
Georgia Weather