#EllaHabla

Nov 22, 2017
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Spectrum

More Women Accuse Guards of Sexual Misconduct

"Two more women have accused guards at a Williamson County federal immigration detention center of sexual misconduct following another immigrant detainee’s recent accusation of being sexually assaulted at the Taylor facility.

'I want to be clear it's very much a jail,' said Claudia Muñoz of the immigration rights group, Grassroots Leadership." Read more about More Women Accuse Guards of Sexual Misconduct

Nov 21, 2017
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Austin American-Statesman

Two more women accuse guard of sexual misconduct at immigration lockup

"Two more women have accused guards at a Williamson County federal immigration detention center of sexual misconduct following another immigrant detainee’s recent accusation of being sexually assaulted at the Taylor facility.

The immigrant advocacy group Grassroots Leadership on Tuesday announced that staff had spoken with one woman, accused of living in the country illegally and formerly housed at the T. Don Hutto detention center for women, who said a guard there had sexually harassed her.

The organization identified the woman only as Ana because she fears retaliation for speaking out. Ana told the organization that a female guard at the privately-operated facility repeatedly asked her about her sexuality, told her they were going to be together one day, and stared at her inappropriately in the facility’s recreational area." Read more about Two more women accuse guard of sexual misconduct at immigration lockup

Nov 15, 2017
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Austin American-Statesman

Inmate says guard assaulted her at Williamson County immigrant lockup

"An immigrant from El Salvador being held in an immigrant detention center in Williamson County is alleging that a guard sexually assaulted her several times over a span of months.

Laura Monterrosa made a report with the Williamson County sheriff’s office after authorities learned of possible assaults Nov. 3, according to the immigrant advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, which is assisting Monterrosa in her attempt to be granted asylum in the United States." Read more about Inmate says guard assaulted her at Williamson County immigrant lockup

Nov 22, 2017
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Rewire

Texas Detention Center Faces Allegations of Widespread Sexual Abuse—Again (Updated)

"More women have made public allegations of sexual abuse at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas, after Laura Monterrosa came forward earlier this month with claims that a guard at the facility had sexually abused her over several months. Monterrosa continues to be detained at Hutto and says the guard is still employed at the facility.

Sofia Casini, the immigration programs coordinator at Grassroots Leadership, told Rewire what is happening inside of Hutto is an example of 'ongoing, persistent abuse of power.' 'You have to keep in mind that all of the women in Hutto are asylum seekers and many have experienced sexual assault. Not only is detention already inherently traumatizing, but now you have sexual assault survivors experiencing more abuse and being re-traumatized. These guards wield so much power over these women. It silences them, and it impacts their day-to-day emotional and psychological well-being,' Casini said." Read more about Texas Detention Center Faces Allegations of Widespread Sexual Abuse—Again (Updated)

Nov 16, 2017
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ShadowProof

Woman Held at Private Immigrant Detention Center Alleges Sexual Assault by Guard

"Twenty-three year old Laura Monterrosa is currently detained at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility operated by CoreCivic, a major private prison company that was once known as Corrections Corporation of America. Hutto holds roughly 500 women, nearly all of whom were detained after fleeing violence in their home countries and seeking asylum in the United States.

... According to Grassroots Leadership, Williamson County Sheriff’s deputies interviewed Monterrosa about these claims with ICE officials present. 'Despite bravely recounting her experiences to the deputies, she was treated like she was the suspect,' they wrote. 'Throughout the interview, [Monterrosa] was treated with suspicion, disrespect, and deputies dismissed her testimony.'

The group noted law enforcement was made aware of two witnesses to her assault, which means they can 'start their investigation immediately, if they are truly interested in justice for [Monterrosa].'" Read more about Woman Held at Private Immigrant Detention Center Alleges Sexual Assault by Guard

Nov 17, 2017
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Austin Chronicle

More Trouble at T. Don Hutto

"When members of Grassroots Leader­ship met with undocumented detainee Laura Monterrosa on one of their recent routine visits to the T. Don Hutto Resi­den­tial Center in Taylor to monitor human rights abuses, she initially stayed silent about the alleged abuse she was facing. She told me through an interpreter on Tuesday that a pending asylum case, and memories of those in her shoes who faced retaliation for speaking out – in the form of deportation threats or transfers to another facility – kept the 23-year-old detainee from sharing her story.

But then an anonymous caller informed CoreCivic, the private prison company that operates the all-women detention facility, that Monterrosa was being sexually assaulted by a guard. She then broke her silence and confided to Grassroots in early Nov­em­ber, penning a letter that describes a pattern of abuse since June...

Grassroots Leadership is currently calling on Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody to launch a transparent investigation into the alleged abuses. 'Anything less than a full investigation is really concerning,' said Casini. WCSO spokesperson Patricia Gutierrez declined to comment on the potential of that investigation." Read more about More Trouble at T. Don Hutto

Nov 15, 2017
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Austin American-Statesman

Woman at Hutto immigration detention says guard sexually assaulted her

"An immigrant from El Salvador being held in an immigrant detention center in Williamson County is alleging that a guard sexually assaulted her several times over a span of months.

Laura Monterrosa made a report with the Williamson County sheriff’s office after authorities learned of possible assaults Nov. 3, according to the immigrant advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, which is assisting Monterrosa in her attempt to be granted asylum in the United States.

Monterrosa entered the U.S. in May and sought asylum to escape violence in her home country. The immigration court system denied her request and she has appealed, said Bethany Carson, immigration policy researcher and organizer at Grassroots Leadership.

Monterrosa said another inmate also tried to report an assault involving another guard, whom she also named in her complaint. That woman was quickly transferred to another facility, Carson said, leaving others with the impression that the woman would be deported because she had made the report.

'That is definitely the understood implication in the detention center,' said Carson, who spoke Wednesday with Monterrosa.

Both guards accused by Monterrosa remain employed at the detention center, Carson said."

  Read more about Woman at Hutto immigration detention says guard sexually assaulted her

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