Oklahoma City resident Jose Alcides Benites drew attention of an immigrant mother from Honduras after he reportedly posted an online advertisement offering undocumented families a place to live. At a time when people across the country are taking to street to protest against the Trump administration’s draconian immigration crackdown, this ad might appear a Good Samaritan’s heartfelt attempt to help asylum seekers.
However, as it appears, Benites’ motives were rather sinister.
Four months ago, the 59-year-old man opened his house to a migrant mother and her two children who were trying to make their way to New York so they could live with their relatives. Last week, he was allegedly caught molesting the woman’s 5-year-old daughter.
The mother, who remains unidentified, said she was going through some documents in the living room while her daughter was in Benites’ room with him. When the woman approached his room to ask him a question about the papers, she allegedly saw him touching her daughter under dress through the cracked door.
According to the report, when the mother knocked on the door and entered, Benites immediately retracted his hand and acted like nothing had happened.
However, instead of reporting the incident to the police, the woman contacted her pastor, who then alerted the authorities. Apparently, the woman was afraid that calling cops would land her and her two kids in trouble.
“She was in the house they were staying at the time and that’s when she peered through a crack in the door, and unfortunately saw a man inappropriately touching her daughter," explained Oklahoma City Police Officer Megan Morgan.
Oklahoma City police shortly arrested Benites from his home.
Meanwhile, the immigration status of the family remains uncertain.
“Overall, I would say the community feels a lot of fear. Particularly because of how unhumanitarian the treatment is for the undocumented and the immigrant community as well,” Cynthia Garcia, the deportation defense director with immigrant rights advocacy group Dream Action Oklahoma, told News 4. “I think, regardless of her legal status, she's here protecting her kids, so as much as that puts her in a pickle, she has to speak up for that. And the only way she`s going to be able to do that is she doesn't allow someone to take advantage of that situation.”
Given the fear of deportation, undocumented immigrants are most vulnerable to exploitation – and disturbing cases like this is a testament to that fact.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez