An Army soldier stationed at Fort Huachuca has pleaded guilty to luring his daughter’s teenage friend to an apartment so he could have sex with the girl.
Luis Burgos Castro also admitted that he lied to the victim’s father — who is also in the Army and stationed at Fort Huachuca — in order to get the then-17-year-old girl alone, a Sierra Vista Police probable cause affidavit shows.
Castro, whose trial was supposed to begin Tuesday in Cochise County Superior Court Judge James Conlogue’s courtroom, entered his plea Friday, said assistant prosecutor Michael Powell, after consulting with his attorney and taking into consideration the evidence that would be presented against him.
Some of that evidence included a face-to-face conversation the defendant had with the victim’s father at the Target in Sierra Vista where Burgos-Castro was being surveilled by police and the girl’s father was outfitted with a recording device detectives were listening to. While the device malfunctioned at one point during the men’s conversation, a good part of Burgos-Castro’s admission regarding what he did to the victim was captured on tape. Additionally, an undercover Sierra Vista investigator was sitting nearby at the Target food court listening to the two men, the affidavit says.
Last Friday, Burgos-Castro pleaded guilty to a six-count indictment that included charges of kidnapping, fraudulent schemes and artifices, luring a minor for sexual exploitation, attempted sexual assault and sexual abuse.
Neither the victim nor her father are being identified because the girl was sexaully assaulted.
The case came to light after the girl, who was a student at Buena High School, told her wrestling coach that she had been “sexually abused” by her teammate’s father, the affidavit shows.
The wrestling coach is Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels.
Investigators said the sexual assault against the teenager occurred on Dec. 3, 2019, in a Sierra Vista apartment that belonged to an acquaintance of Burgos-Castro, the affidavit shows.
That night, just after 9 p.m., Burgos-Castro knocked on the door of the victim’s residence at Fort Huachuca and told her father that he was having a surprise party for his daughter because she had been accepted to a university in Puerto Rico, the affidavit shows.
Burgos-Castro offered to take the girl to the party in his vehicle, but her father said he would drive her there and they would follow Burgos-Castro, the affidavit says. The party was to be held at Burgos-Castro’s friend’s apartment.
The victim’s father dropped her off at the apartment complex, but he later told investigators he never went inside the residence where the surprise party was supposed to be held. When the girl got upstairs and entered the apartment, no one was there except for Burgos-Castro and the resident of the apartment, the affidavit says.
The victim later told a forensic investigator that Burgos-Castro told her there was no party and that he “had a secret,” the affidavit shows. He then asked the victim if she wanted to go on “an adventure.”
Burgos-Castro told the girl to go into a bedroom and he locked the door. He told her to lie down and he assaulted her, the affidavit shows. Burgos-Castro suggested other acts he wanted to perform on the teenager, but she said no and told him she wanted to leave, the affidavit says.
She later told investigators that when she was waiting for her father to pick her up from the apartment, Burgos-Castro told her to wear a dress to the next wrestling practice because he “wanted to sneak away with her,” the affidavit states.
When the girl was in the car with her father, she started crying and told him what had happened with the defendant, the affidavit shows.
On Dec. 6, 2019, when the girl and her father went to Sierra Vista Police, the girl sent a text message to the defendant in an attempt to get him to admit wrongdoing. That failed when Burgos-Castro kept asking the girl what she was talking about.
The victim’s father however, was able to get Burgos-Castro on the phone from the police department and the defendant stated that he was “ashamed, embarrassed and disappointed in himself” for what had happened, the affidavit shows. But Burgos-Castro blamed his behavior on the Sudafed medication he had taken that evening for a sinus problem. He claimed he couldn’t recall what had occurred.
The two men continued talking, then agreed to meet in person at the Target, the affidavit shows. After that meeting, police interviewed two more people, including Burgos-Castro’s daughter. The latter said the victim told her at wrestling practice that Burgos-Castro had assaulted her.
When Sierra Vista investigators interviewed Burgos-Castro on Dec. 20, 2019, he initially lied and denied having touched the teenager. But when investigators confronted him with the evidence in the form of the conversations between him and the victim’s father, Burgos-Castro admitted to his actions, the affidavit shows.
Powell said the case was not the result of a plea agreement, but more the evidence stacked against Burgos-Castro.
“I am glad that justice can be served for the victim without her having to go through the trauma of a trial,” Powell said. “The defendant will be a registered sex offender at the conclusion of this case. The judge will still have to determine whether or not the defendant will be placed on probation or be sent to prison.”
Burgos-Castro will be sentenced on Nov. 30.