A Shoreview man has been charged with kidnapping a 15-year-old girl because he wanted to marry her.
Ramsey County prosecutors say Kong Meng Xiong, 21, was arrested Sunday evening after he and his parents allegedly forced the girl to stay at their house for several hours.
According to the criminal complaint, the girl told police that she and Xiong were dating. She said he came to her house on Saturday evening and they argued, after which Xiong forced her into his car and used the child safety feature to lock all the doors and prevent her from getting out.
Xiong then drove to his house so he could force her to marry him, according to the complaint.
Xiong's parents also wanted the two to marry in accordance with Hmong cultural traditions, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The girl told police she was not allowed to leave the house or use a telephone.
The girl's parents learned of the abduction from their son after they came home from work around midnight. They drove to Xiong's house and confronted Xiong, who then allowed the girl to leave. Her parents then contacted police.
Xiong was arrested at his home Sunday evening.
Xiong and the girl both told police they had sexual intercourse on at least two occasions. So in addition to felony kidnapping and false imprisonment charges, Xiong also faces a third-degree sexual assault charge because the girl is a minor who cannot legally consent to sex.
"This is a very disturbing case involving the victimization of a 15 year-old girl that cannot be tolerated in our community," Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a statement. "Women and girls are not property, they are human beings who have every right to be free from violence and to live according to how they choose for themselves."
Xiong made his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon, and is in custody on $150,000 bail, according to the Pioneer Press.
The maximum sentence for the sexual assault charge is 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. The kidnapping charge carries a maximum of 20 years and a $35,000 fine, according to KARE 11.