Bar owner charged with rape keeps serving drinks to minors

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 29, 2011 3:13 PM
Bar owner charged with rape keeps serving drinks to minors

By Ann Nachtigal

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota (Reuters) - A South Dakota bar owner, out on bond for allegedly raping three girls he had gotten drunk in October, served alcohol to 11 minors over the weekend at the same bar, police said on Tuesday.

Werner Fajardo, 34, was being held Tuesday on $150,000 bond after his arrest over the weekend for serving minors at his Nite Club El Cuervo bar in Huron, South Dakota, about 130 miles northwest from Sioux Falls.

Police said they made the arrest after a compliance check on Saturday turned up 11 minors at the bar.

Fajardo, a Sioux Falls resident, had been released on a $10,000 bond earlier in November after he was charged with raping a 12-year-old girl and two 14-year-old girls at his bar.

Fajardo allegedly drove the girls to the bar in the early morning hours of October 30 after it closed and served them alcohol until they passed out, then raped them, Huron Police Chief Gary Will said.

He was charged with first-degree rape for the alleged assault on the 12-year-old girl and third-degree rape for the alleged assaults on the two 14-year-old girls. First-degree rape carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Fajardo has not entered pleas to any of the charges and has requested a public defender. He is scheduled to appear in court next on Dec 14.

City leaders have scheduled a public hearing on December 30 to consider whether to recommend that the state revoke or suspend Fajardo's alcohol license, Huron city attorney Gerald Kaufman, Jr. said. State law required a 30-day notice for a hearing.

Fajardo applied in early November for a conditional-use permit to run a vacant bar in Sioux Falls, said Jeff Schmitt, the city's chief planning and zoning official.

Schmitt asked Fajardo in a letter on Monday for additional information. A decision on Fajardo's request will likely be deferred until at least January or February, he said.

(Editing by Greg McCune)