On Tuesday, an employee of Southwest Key (a nonprofit contractor that operates shelters for migrant children, including the now infamous Casa Padre) was arrested for molestation, aggravated assault, and sexual abuse after confessing to touching and kissing a 14-year-old girl at one of Southwest Key’s Phoenix area facilities.
This comes just days after reports of sexual abuse in Southwest Key’s Casa Glendale facility near Phoenix.
Earlier this year, the ACLU uncovered documentary evidence of child abuse by Customs and Border Protection employees (the full May 2018 report by the ACLU and the University of Chicago can be found here). The following is from an ACLU press release.
Examples of the documented abuses include allegations that CBP officials:
- Punched a child’s head three times
- Kicked a child in the ribs
- Used a stun gun on a boy, causing him to fall to the ground, shaking, with his eyes rolling back in his head
- Ran over a 17-year-old with a patrol vehicle and then punched him several times
- Verbally abused detained children, calling them dogs and “other ugly things”
- Denied detained children permission to stand or move freely for days and threatened children who stood up with transfer to solitary confinement in a small, freezing room
- Denied a pregnant minor medical attention when she reported pain, which preceded a stillbirth
- Subjected a 16-year-old girl to a search in which they “forcefully spread her legs and touched her private parts so hard that she screamed”
- Left a 4-pound premature baby and her minor mother in an overcrowded and dirty cell full of sick people, against medical advice
- Threw out a child’s birth certificate and threatened him with sexual abuse by an adult male detainee.
The ACLU has started a petition addressed to CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan: “Stop subjecting children in your custody to physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. Hold the responsible agents accountable and make it impossible for any future abuse to occur.”
You can sign the petition here.