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Husband accused of harboring, raping Guatemalan girl in Sioux City to remain in custody

Husband accused of harboring, raping Guatemalan girl in Sioux City to remain in custody

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SAN DIEGO -- A Sioux City man accused of harboring and raping an undocumented Guatemalan girl will remain in custody in California as attorneys prepare for the case's return to Iowa.

U.S. Magistrate Judge F.A. Gossett III on Wednesday denied Cristobal Francisco-Nicolas' request for bond during a hearing in federal court in San Diego.

Francisco-Nicolas and his wife, Amy Francisco, both are charged in U.S. District Court in Sioux City with taking the young girl into their Sioux City home, where, court documents say, Francisco-Nicolas raped her. Francisco-Nicolas and his wife were arrested earlier this month in California.

During a Tuesday hearing in San Diego, a judge set bond for Amy Francisco, who like her husband faces a federal charge of harboring certain aliens, at $20,000. She must post a $2,000 cash deposit to be released from custody.

Her attorney, Marc Levinson, said Wednesday afternoon that she had not yet bonded out of custody, but that he expected she would return to Iowa to face the charge.

"I anticipate that she will make her way back to Iowa," Levinson said.

Francisco and her husband are scheduled to appear in court in San Diego on July 25 for a removal hearing in which a judge will determine if they are indeed the same people who are charged in the case. The two could return to Sioux City to face the charge after that hearing. The case remains sealed in Sioux City.

Tony Morfitt, assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, said the office does not comment on ongoing criminal cases.

According to a complaint filed in Sioux City, the girl, who was found June 5 wandering Sioux City streets and saying she had been sexually assaulted, told police she and her father had traveled to the United States from Guatemala and crossed the Rio Grande near El Paso, Texas, on May 29. They were taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents and released on an order of recognizance and supervision from a detention center the following day because of a lack of space.

They then flew to Omaha, where Francisco and Francisco-Nicolas picked them up and drove them to Sioux City. When they arrived in Sioux City, the girl's father left her at Francisco and Francisco-Nicolas' Hamilton Boulevard home, where she was locked in a room with a metal bed and a bucket to use as a toilet, court documents said.

According to court documents, the girl told police Francisco-Nicolas raped her five times while his wife watched. She told police she escaped after Francisco-Nicolas went to work and left her door unlocked.

During an interview with authorities, the complaint said, Francisco-Nicolas said his sister in Guatemala told him about the girl and her father, and he arranged for them to come and sent them money.

Francisco's father told authorities that the couple had helped approximately 10 family members and friends of Francisco-Nicolas relocate from Guatemala to Sioux City after being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border, court documents said.

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