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Man sentenced to prison for kidnapping teen Iowa babysitter

August 31, 2021 GMT

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — An El Salvador national has been sentenced to up to 25 years in prison for snatching a teenage girl from an eastern Iowa yard, dragging her into a house and groping her.

Saul Santos Vasquez Martinez, 45, was sentenced last week after being convicted of second-degree kidnapping and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, the Courier reported.

The case made headlines in July 2019 when police said Vasquez grabbed the 16-year-old girl as she babysat a young child in a Cedar Falls yard and forced her into his house. The girl reported that Vasquez groped her and tried to remove her clothes as she struggled to free herself and that he tried to prevent her from leaving the house before she managed to escape.

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Vasquez proclaimed his innocence at his Friday sentencing, but prosecutors said he admitted to some of the conduct under police questioning. Police said he also took cellphone photos of the teen and child before the assault.

Vasquez will have to serve nearly 18 years prison before he is eligible for parole and will have to register as a sex offender upon his release.