Migrant Teen Allegedly Molested By Arizona Detention Center Employee

A 14-year-old migrant girl was allegedly the victim of sexual abuse while under the care of a facility holding children separated from their parents.

A 14-year-old migrant girl who was separated from her parents at the southern border was the victim of alleged sexual abuse at a facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

The accused attacker, 32-year-old facility employee Fernando Magaz Negrete, reportedly touched the girl’s breasts and crotch area over her clothes. According to the official report, he was also accused of kissing her several times.

Surveillance video showed Negrete approaching the room where the girl would stay with two other minors. He reportedly went to the room several times.

The teen’s roommate reported the incident to the police.

Negrete now faces charges of sexual abuse, child molestation, and aggravated assault. He’s being held on a $150,000 bond.

The attacker worked at the Southwest Key facility housing several children who were separated from their parents. The nonprofit organization operates children shelters in California, Texas, and Arizona. Its contract with the United States is worth $458 million, however Southwest Key facilities have been named in at least two other cases of sexual abuse since 2015.

Southwest Key’s spokesman, Jeff Eller, said the organization takes these matters seriously.

“When a child tells us of inappropriate behavior, we immediately call law enforcement and start an internal investigation as appropriate," Eller said. "Southwest Key always works with law enforcement to bring the full force of the law to bear when it is warranted.”

Upon Negrete’s arrest, he was immediately fired, the organization stated. He reportedly admitted to the police he did, indeed, attack the young migrant.

Sadly, this is hardly the first report of sexual abuse occurring in shelters for migrant children. As a matter of fact, these facilities have been dubbed a “goldmine” for child predators.

Even as more disturbing cases come to light, the government continues to funnel money into these centers to house the people they keep detaining. This rampant abuse is just one of many very serious reasons why migrant youths should never have been separated from their parents in the first place.   


Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Loren Elliott

View Comments

Recommended For You