April 24, 2014 10:48:52 AM
An undocumented worker has been arrested and charged with molestation.
Palemon Vargas Reyes, 43, of 103 Brown Street, was arrested Tuesday by the Columbus Police Department. He was charged with molestation, touching a child for lustful purposes. Reyes, who is from Mexico and owns his own construction business, is married and lives in a home with five children, according to the alleged victim.
The alleged victim, a teenager, told The Dispatch Wednesday that Reyes raped her three times over the last seven weeks. The Dispatch does not identify victims of sexual assault. The girl claimed Reyes took her to a job site in Alabama. On their way back to Columbus, the girl claimed Reyes stopped at a hotel. She said he then gave her a substance, which she later learned was crack cocaine, then raped her. The girl said Reyes raped her two more times over the following weeks.
She said Reyes told her he had friends in a Mexican drug cartel and threated to kill her and her family if she told anyone about the rape.
Reyes appeared in Municipal Court Wednesday afternoon and received a $100,000 bond. He also has a hold for immigration according to officials with the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center.
Columbus Police Department officials would not elaborate on the case, which they say is ongoing.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @FowlerSarah
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