GAINESVILLE — After the jury deliberated for just 40 minutes, two suspects in a child sex trafficking case were found guilty this afternoon on all charges.
Maria Mercedes Vasquez-Quiroz and Digno de Jesus Mejia were charged in a February 2014 indictment with trafficking a 4-year-old girl for sexual servitude.
“The only thing I want to say is I want to apologize for everything that has happened, and I want to ask for forgiveness for all of this,” Mejia said through interpreter Guillermo Arenas.
Mejia’s family members in the courtroom declined to comment at the sentencing, and Vasquez-Quiroz also elected not to speak.
“There really is not a sentence that we think is enough,” said Assistant District Attorney Shiv Sachdeva as he advocated for maximum sentencing.
Vasquez-Quiroz was charged with rape, aggravated child molestation, child molestation, first-degree child cruelty, enticing a child for indecent purposes, trafficking a person for sexual servitude and aggravated sodomy.
“We walk in faith with my husband that we will provide for [the children] to the point that one day they can forgive all those that hurt them and stole their innocence,” the adoptive mother said during sentencing.
The Times is not naming the adoptive parents in order to protect the victims’ identities.
“This jury got to see and hear a lot about some of the horrors that go on in our community … But I think I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that we also got to see some heroes,” Judge Jason Deal said.
“While murder deals with the death of the physical body, offenses against children often kill their spirit,” Deal said.