WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A male immigration facility worker has been arrested on Tuesday for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old female immigrant.
- Magaz Negrete, 32, kissed and fondled the girl in her bedroom, an eyewitness told the facility officials.
- It was not yet determined if the girl was part of the group of immigrant children who were separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border.
An employee in a Southwest Key-operated detention facility for children was booked on Tuesday for alleged child molestation, sexual abuse and aggravated assault on a 14-year-old girl staying in one of its facilities in Phoenix. It was unclear whether the victim belonged to the group of immigrant children who were separated from their parents at the border.
The eyewitness of the incident was the victim’s 16-year-old roommate who saw Fernando Magaz Negrete, 32, kissing and fondling the girl in their bedroom. Surveillance videos also showed Negrete going to the girl’s bedroom multiple times throughout the night.
Negrete was immediately fired from the facility.
“When a child tells us of inappropriate behavior, we immediately call law enforcement and start an internal investigation as appropriate,” Jeff Eller, a spokesman from Southwest Key said.
“It’s what’s happened to this case. Southwest Key always works with law enforcement to bring the full force of the law when it is warranted,” he added.
Primarily, shelters have been serving immigrant children since 2014. Recently, it has been the subject of scrutiny due to reports from authorities of about at least 125 calls reporting sexual abuse being committed against its young residents.
A similar incident that happened in 2015 in another facility operated by Southwest Key in Tucson, Arizona was published by ProPublica. The news website reported that a worker was fired for fondling the genitalia of a 15-year-old Honduran boy. The worker was eventually convicted of child molestation.
Meanwhile, Magaz Negrete was reportedly heard asking Trazy Nadzieja, the presiding court commissioner on who is bringing up the charges. To which Nadzieja responded that all details regarding the allegations against him will be explained once they find him a court-appointed attorney. He remains in jail custody and set with a bond of $150,000.
This is the same facility that First Lady Melania Trump has visited on June 28 to meet the children who were forcefully separated from their parents since the zero-tolerance policy was initiated.
Source: NBC News