A North Carolina man is facing life in prison after he was charged with 20 counts of statutory rape and four counts of taking indecent liberties with a child.
The charges against Moises Laracuente-Aponte, 48, involve two young girls, a 15-year-old and a 12-year-old. Charging documents allege Laracuente-Aponte raped each girl 10 times between November 2016 and December 2017, according to The News & Observer.
The four additional charges of taking indecent liberties with a child involve only the 15-year-old girl.
Laracuente-Aponte is currently being held on $5 million bail. During a Dec. 6 court appearance, a judge ordered Laracuente-Aponte to stay away from the two victims if he manages to post bail, according to WNCN.
WNCN reports Laracuente-Aponte worked as a maintenance supervisor at the same apartment complex he lived in. A former co-worker said he was shocked to hear of Laracuente-Aponte's arrest and described him as a "skilled and hard worker."
In hindsight, however, that same co-worker said some of Laracuente-Aponte's actions around his family and others were troubling.
The News & Observer reports no arrest warrant was issued for Laracuente-Aponte. Instead, charges were detailed in magistrate's orders, an alternative to an arrest warrant used when a suspect is brought before a magistrate shortly after a crime has been committed.
Laracuente-Aponte's enormous bail is not unusual for a case involving so many charges of statutory rape.
In November, a North Carolina teacher was charged with four counts of statutory rape and two counts of sex offense involving a student, according to WNCN. He was later additionally charged with first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
The teacher, 36-year-old Nicholas Smith, was initially held on $1 million bail, which was later raised to $2 million after prosecutors indicated more charges were pending.
"In this particular case there are numerous counts, two different victims, and all indications are that there may be more charges coming as well from a different county," Wake County Assistant District Attorney Christy Joyce said, according to WTVD.
Smith was a math teacher at the Montessori School of Raleigh for 12 years before his arrest. The initial charges against him allege he had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student in 2011.
The head of the school where Smith taught issued a statement after his arrest.
"There is nothing more important than the safety of our students," Nancy Errichetti said in the statement, according to WTVD. "These allegations are extremely disturbing and we are cooperating fully with the police investigation. We will also conduct a comprehensive review of our own policies and procedures as part of our ongoing commitment to protect our students."
Sources: The News & Observer, WNCN (2), WTVD / Featured Image: Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/U.S. Air Force / Embedded Images: Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification via The News & Observer, Daniel Schwen/Wikimedia Commons