Williamson County

Mar 21, 2018
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The Hill

Congressional accountability measures for ICE are long overdue

"If we need fresh examples of ICE human rights violations, we need only to look back to last month. That’s when Laura Monterrosa, a woman who accused a guard of sexually abusing her last fall in Hutto Detention Center in Texas, was locked in solitary confinement for 60 hours and told she wouldn’t be released until she recanted her sexual assault complaint." Read more about Congressional accountability measures for ICE are long overdue

Mar 19, 2018
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La Opinion

Liberan a migrante que denunció acoso sexual, afirman que no es el único caso en centro de detención

“La valentía y liderazgo de Laura han impulsado un movimiento en el condado de Williamson que elevó la consciencia sobre los abusos que han ocurrido en el centro”, dijo este lunes Bethany Carson, de la organización Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Liberan a migrante que denunció acoso sexual, afirman que no es el único caso en centro de detención

Feb 25, 2018
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The Patch

Austin Council Members Seek Access To Detained Immigrant

"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."' Read more about Austin Council Members Seek Access To Detained Immigrant

Feb 20, 2018
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KVUE

WilCo group demands action from county commissioners on sex assault investigation

"Grassroots Leadership members said the county is liable for the abuses that are happening to Monterrosa and should intercede with ICE for her release.

'The county is a party to the contract, along with ICE and CoreCivic for the T. Don Hutto Detention Center,' Grassroots Leadership member Bethany Carson said. 'They are liable for any abuses that happens as a party to the contract."' Read more about WilCo group demands action from county commissioners on sex assault investigation

Feb 20, 2018
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Austin American-Statesman

Austin City Council member not allowed to visit woman in detention

"Bethany Carson, a researcher for the advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, said at the commissioners meeting that if Monterrosa killed herself in detention it would signal a wrongful death lawsuit that could cost the county 'millions of dollars.'

'The county is liable for these abuses happening to Laura and we do not want taxpayer money spent that way,' Carson said." Read more about Austin City Council member not allowed to visit woman in detention

Dec 12, 2017
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Rewire

FBI Intervenes After Sexual Assault Allegations at Texas Immigrant Detention Center

“Laura wants justice and so far, it’s been delayed and denied,” Carson said. “What is happening to Laura is endemic of detention centers and almost impossible to completely eliminate unless we eliminate detention centers. A woman who spoke at Laura’s press conference was detained at Hutto seven years ago and said she saw inappropriate behavior from guards that was sexual in nature. There has been a trail of these incidents and most of them go unreported and this is why: they don’t get investigated and the women who come forward are shamed or transferred or otherwise punished. This is an extremely pervasive problem.” Read more about FBI Intervenes After Sexual Assault Allegations at Texas Immigrant Detention Center

Dec 8, 2017
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Austin Chronicle

T. Don Hutto Abuse Case Goes to FBI

"Outside the Williamson County Sheriff's Officeon Monday, Dec. 4, a group of activists held signs and criticized the department for its failure to transparently investigate alleged sexual abuse at T. Don Hutto immigration detention facility in Taylor. Last month, Laura Monterrosa accused a guard employed by private, for-profit detention operators CoreCivic of sexual abuse, and since then an outpouring of other women have stepped forward. And last weekend, according to Bethany Carson at Grassroots Leadership, a whistleblower inspired by Monterrosa confirmed pervasive issues of sexual abuse at Hutto and named two guards who have abused their power to the nonprofit, which has led the charge for justice for Monterrosa. 'This has been going on for a long time, since I was detained in 2009,' said Sulma Franco, a former detainee who's now an organizer with the Austin Sanctuary Network. 'The only thing that has changed is Laura's courage to speak up while she is still detained.'" Read more about T. Don Hutto Abuse Case Goes to FBI

Dec 7, 2017
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Latina

Two More Women Come Forward About Sexual Harassment in Detention Center

"In the Williamson County federal immigration detention center, a privately owned facility, two more women have accused guards of sexually harassing them. Grassroots Leadership, an organization that works with communities across the nation to abolish for-profit private prisons, jails, and detention centers, spoke to a woman, identified only as Ana, about a female guard who 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.

Grassroots also said another woman identified as Esmeralda, currently at T. Don Hutto, claimed she no longer goes to the recreational area to avoid that same guard." Read more about Two More Women Come Forward About Sexual Harassment in Detention Center

Dec 5, 2017
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Remezcla

Immigration Advocates Demand Answers After Sex Abuse Claims Surface Out of Texas Detention Center

"As people in different industries courageously share their stories, three women are drawing attention to the sexual abuse they have faced at an immigrant detention center in Texas. In a letter to immigration advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, Laura Monterrosa, a 23-year-old from El Salvador, detailed the abuse she endured at T. Don Hutto Residential Center. Immigration advocates in Austin are demanding answers from law enforcement about the allegations." Read more about Immigration Advocates Demand Answers After Sex Abuse Claims Surface Out of Texas Detention Center

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