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Prosecution presents case involving trafficking of 4-year-old girl
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Hall County Court Appointed Special Advocate Alina Basha tears up as she gives testimony Tuesday morning in Hall County Superior Court during the sex trafficking trail of Gainesville residents Maria Mercedes Vasquez-Quiroz and Digno de Jesus Mejia.

Maria Mercedes Vasquez-Quiroz and Digno de Jesus Mejia were charged in a February 2014 indictment with trafficking the girl for sexual servitude.

Assistant District Attorneys Shiv Sachdeva and Blake Poole called witnesses including the girl’s Court-Appointed Special Advocate and her medical examiners.

Poole’s opening statement began by telling the jury the girl’s term for sex would come up often during the trial.

“(She) told them about how (Vasquez-Quiroz) would tell her, ‘If a man comes knocking on the door to take you away, you go with him,’” Poole said.

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.

Mejia was charged with rape, child molestation, first-degree child cruelty, enticing a child for indecent purposes and trafficking of a person for sexual servitude.

Poole’s opening statement also included an excerpt of the girl’s forensic interview with psychologist Julie Battle from Brenau University, in which the girl described the acts.

Vasquez-Quiroz’s attorney, Tom Csider, acknowledged the anger and emotion one might feel from the charges brought against his client.

“Ours is not a system of emotions. Ours is a system of law. Ours is a system of fact,” Csider said in his opening statement.

Lee Parks, the attorney for Mejia, reserved his opening statement for after the state’s presentation.

Two children, a now 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy, testified via Skype and were cross-examined by Parks and Csider. Charges regarding the boy are based on allegations brought solely against Vasquez-Quiroz.

The children told the court what they remembered regarding the allegations brought nearly two years ago.

The prosecution called Maria Isabel Mojica Sanchez, a babysitter for the children who reported the case to the Division of Family and Children Services.

Alina Basha, the girl’s Court-Appointed Special Advocate, testified regarding her conversations with the girl, who said multiple men had sexual relations with her and took pictures of her.

“I have had 51 children under my caseload throughout these years, and I’ve never — and I have had cases of sexual abuse, children that have been sexually abused — and I have never heard anything like that,” Basha said.

Gainesville Police Investigator Brian Majors said during a search of a home he seized two dresses and eight pairs of underwear, which were entered into evidence.

During cross-examination, Parks addressed the allegation involving photos and videos, of which Majors said none have been found.

Majors added that unless there was a specific allegation with a specific article of clothing, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab would not test the underwear seized for bodily fluids.

When asked about local testing, Majors said Gainesville Police do not have the capabilities for DNA testing.

The girl underwent a forensic examination by a sexual assault nurse examiner, which was conducted by Edmondson-Telford Center for Children Executive Director Heather Hayes.

Hayes could not say with 100 percent certainty whether abnormalities found during the exam were from trauma or normal variance.

Testimony is expected to resume at 9 a.m. today.

 

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