"In a 10-page complaint filed in federal court in Austin late Friday, Laura Monterrosa’s attorneys alleged that a psychiatrist at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, near Austin, didn’t evaluate Monterrosa fully. Consequently, the attorneys assert Monterrosa isn’t being treated adequately for her diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder." [node:read-more:link]
"'I didn’t come here because I wanted to,' says Laura Monterrosa, an El Salvadoran detainee at the Texas immigration detention center, who reportedly remains suicidal after a female guard allegedly assaulted her for four months. Monterrosa came to the US after sustaining abuse in El Salvador for being gay. She was put in solitary confinement in Februarybecause the facility does not have separate rooms for 'segregation purposes.' Monterrosa is detained at the for-profit T. Don Hutto Detention Facility, a drive from Austin, Texas. Monterrosa, who has allegedly attempted suicide at least three times, was also reportedly denied therapy. She is not the first person to speak up about the conditions at T. Don Hutto." [node:read-more:link]
“If what ICE calls ‘medical care’ is 60 hours in solitary confinement in a tiny, freezing, smelly room in the booking area, that speaks for itself as to why Laura’s life is in danger as long as she remains detained,” said Bethany Carson, an immigration researcher and organizer at the immigrant rights group, Grassroots Leadership.
“To expect that a survivor of sexual abuse by a CoreCivic guard could trust psychologists and medical staff who wear the same uniform as her abuser is ludicrous, and their refusal of outside mental health care is a blatant violation of PREA. It’s clear that ICE will go to any extreme to cover up this abuse.”
According to Carson’s organization, Monterrosa’s health is at a “crisis level,” describing her as “frequently vomiting and unable to eat for several days.”
Grassroots Leadership staff called the police on February 18 after Monterrosa said she felt suicidal. The Taylor Police Department conducted a welfare check at the prison but told the group they have “no oversight over the care she receives” and “could not intercede to allow her to speak with an outside mental health professional.” [node:read-more:link]
"After Monterrosa made public claims that she endured repeated sexual assault at T. Don Hutto Detention Facility, which is run by a for-profit prison company around 30 miles outside of Austin, she was scheduled for a disciplinary hearing for not eating for over a week. According to Grassroots Leadership, the organization advocating for Monterrosa, she'd stopped going to the cafeteria for fear of facing her alleged abuser there.
Before she could attend the hearing, however, she attempted suicide for the first time and was later placed in solitary confinement and barred from seeing her attorneys. Over the last month, activists say she's experienced an onslaught of retaliation tactics, culminating in 60 additional hours of solitary confinement, coercion to recant her accusations and two more suicide attempts." [node:read-more:link]
"On January 12, Laura Monterrosa – an immigrant from El Salvador detained at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center – attempted to take her own life. Detained in May 2017, Laura reports that a guard began to sexually abuse her in June.
Following the rise of #MeToo – a hashtag victims of predatory behaviors have used to talk about their experiences – Monterrosa courageously came forward with her story. But days after she shed light on the harassment, ICE said her claims were 'unsubstantiated.' Not only was her story dismissed, but she also had to continue seeing her abuser. With no on putting an end to this, Laura took 51 pain pills, attempting to commit suicide.
After returning from the hospital, officials placed her in solitary confinement for 60 hours – an ICE order many believe is retaliatory. There’s also reports that the detention center used isolation as a way to get her to recant her story. In the weeks since her story went viral and put a bigger spotlight on the many ways immigration detention centers treat detainees as dispensable, she remains suicidal. Laura has not received the mental and physical attention she desperately needs.
People on the outside are fighting for her as she struggles on the inside. Grassroots Leadership provides crucial information about her case, and activists have come together to demand her prompt release." [node:read-more:link]
"More than 40 congressmen have signed a letter calling on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to investigate its handling of sexual assault reports in its detention facilities.
The letter released Monday is based on the case of Laura Monterrosa, a detainee at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Central Texas. The FBI is investigating her allegation that a female guard assaulted her.
U.S. Reps. Joaquin Castro and Lloyd Doggett, both Democrats, wrote that they were concerned about the 'prevalence of reports of sexual assault and abuse' in Texas immigration facilities.
The advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, which is working with Monterrosa, says detention center employees are pressuring her to recant her allegations. ICE says it 'fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference.”' [node:read-more:link]
"More than 45 congressmen have signed a letter calling for an investigation into how ICE handles sexual assault reports in its detention centers.
The letter references the case of Laura Monterrosa, a detainee at the T. Don Hutto Center in Central Texas who claims she was sexually assaulted by a female guard.
The immigrant advocacy group Grassroots Leadership is also accusing detention center employees of pressuring Monterrosa to recant her claims." [node:read-more:link]
"The council members from Austin are requesting access to the detainee after a Feb. 20 attempt by Council Member Greg Casar to visit with the woman was rebuffed by CoreCivic officials who run the site. Reportedly, the detention center's operators expressed concerns Casar would later go to the media to describe what he might have seen at the facility, according to Grassroots Leadership advocates.
... Hearing of her hardship, the three council members now requesting to visit with Monterrosa also are demanding she be released — joining a cause Austin-based Grassroots Leadership has long taken on.
'To bar officials from entering a detention center because they represent the public, or because they may speak to the media about what they see, raises dire questions about freedom of speech and the transparency of these facilities,' the letter reads in part. 'We are deeply concerned that continued detention will be harmful for Ms. Monterrosa's health and call on you to release her immediately from detention."' [node:read-more:link]
"A class-action lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday argues that a company that manages immigrant detention centers — including the T. Don Hutto Center in Taylor — is violating the federal Trafficking Victims and Protection Act by forcing labor on those in the center.
...The T. Don Hutto center has been in the spotlight recently after Austin-based activist group Grassroots Leadership said it received letters from three women accusing guards at the detention center of sexual misconduct. One of those women is Laura Monterrosa, who has said she was sexually assaulted by a female guard." [node:read-more:link]
"On Wednesday, Feb. 14, a group of about 50 people gathered outside the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, to protest the isolation of one Laura Monterrosa, a young asylum seeker who has been convicted of no crimes. Though her solitary confinement was temporary, her story is far from over, and it is part of a larger pattern of abuse and silencing to which activists are hoping to draw attention." [node:read-more:link]