Williamson County

Dec 4, 2017
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The Patch

Chody Blasted For Inaction On Detention Site Sexual Abuse Claims

"On Monday morning, advocates gathered outside his office to denounce his agency's failure to conduct an investigation after outcries of sexual assault from the Hutto detention center where women have filed formal complaints. The gathering comprised community members, volunteers with Grassroots Leadership's Hutto Visitation Program, and immigrant advocates concerned by sexual assault in detention, according to organizers.

[...] 'Laura has a whole community behind her asking for release because we know that women who are victims of sexual abuse should be believed, not retaliated against,' Claudia Muñoz, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership said." [node:read-more:link]

Dec 4, 2017
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KXAN

After sex abuse claims at T. Don Hutto detention facility, advocates want answers

"Grassroots Leadership, which works to end prison profiteering and reduce reliance on detention, claims the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office has jurisdiction over the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, but failed to act after a sexual abuse allegation by detainee Laura Monterrosa. Last month, Monterrosa spoke out, saying a guard at the facility had been abusing her since June." [node:read-more:link]

Dec 4, 2017
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KVUE

WilCo group seeking answers from sheriff's office on sex assault investigation

"Laura Monterrosa first spoke out Nov. 9, according to Grassroots Leadership. She said a guard sexually abused her.

'Since the day that I talked to investigators from the Sheriff’s Office and gave them all of my evidence I have not heard anything back from them,' she said in a press release from Grassroots Leadership. 'I expected Williamson County to treat the investigation differently than ICE, but up until now, they’re acting the same. I am still here inside detention and the guard still works here. I need justice.'

'She told us that there was a guard in there who was making sexual harassment comments to her,' Grassroots Leadership spokesperson Claudia Munoz said. 'He was just saying inappropriate things like we'll be together when you get out of here and he'd touch her legs and breasts when she was in the recreation center in very strategic areas where there were no cameras."' [node:read-more:link]

Dec 4, 2017
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Spectrum

FBI Investigating Detention Center Sexual Misconduct Claims

"Claudia Muñoz with the immigration rights advocacy group, Grassroots Leadership, says she has heard from several women who claim sexual misconduct by guards.

'We see an agency that is reckless, where there is no accountability,' she said. 'When there is an agency that can actually have accountability for them like Williamson County, they chose not to act and they take (ICE's) side."' [node:read-more:link]

Dec 4, 2017
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Telemundo

Acusan de abuso sexual a personal del Centro de Detención de ICE en Hutto

Este lunes decenas de personas junto a activistas pro inmigrantes le exigieron respuestas al Alguacil del Condado Williamson, Robert Chody alegando que su oficina no ha tomado las riendas de la investigación en torno a las alegaciones de abuso sexual en el Centro de Detención T. Don Hutto en Taylor.

“Queremos saber cuál es el plan para proteger a las mujeres detenidas en Hutto y, en general, a todas las mujeres ya que ellos tienen la jurisdicción local de actuar”, indicó Claudia Muñoz, Directora de los Programas de Protección a los Inmigrantes de Grassroots Leadership. [node:read-more:link]

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." [node:read-more:link]

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." [node:read-more:link]

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