Williamson County

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].'" [node:read-more:link]

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."

  [node:read-more:link]

Nov 9, 2017
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The Independent

Asylum seeker in private immigration prison writes plea for help as she accuses guard of repeated sexual assault

"'In this place, we don’t have rights, only duties,' the woman, whose identity is being withheld by The Independent for privacy concerns, wrote in a letter to Grassroots Leadership, an immigration advocacy group in Austin. 'We are not criminals, we only want to protect our lives, we can’t stand any more torture or threats.'

'She was really scared that the guard would have some sort of influence over her case, and the guard made threats toward her saying the nobody would believe her if she said anything about it,' Claudia Munoz, the immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership in Austin, said." [node:read-more:link]

Nov 9, 2017
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Spectrum News

Letter Details Sexual Assault at T. Don Hutto Residential Center

"The non-profit organization, Grassroots Leadership, received a letter detailing sexual assaults against two women at the T. Don Hutto Residential center.

According to a press release, Laura Monterrosa sent the letter, from inside the center, describing her ongoing sexual assault by a female guard. She also wrote about another woman who was abused by two other guards.

'Speaking out about sexual abuse perpetrated by a guard while still detained takes incredible courage,' said Bethany Carson, immigration researcher and organizer at Grassroots Leadership. 'As ICE has proven incapable of taking reports of abuse seriously, the least the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office can do is immediately launch a just and transparent investigation into reports of sexual abuse by guards at Hutto.'" [node:read-more:link]

What the hell is going on inside the Hutto detention center?

A letter from inside a controversial detention center contains new reports of sexual assault and retaliation against women detained in an immigrant detention center near Austin. The T. Don Hutto detention center, which imprisons asylum-seeking women, has been at the center of sexual assault scandals before.  One former guard was even incarcerated for multiple assaults.

Now, a letter sent by L.M. (the woman’s initials) from inside the Hutto detention center describes her and others’ experiences of sexual assault and retaliation and names two guards as perpetrators. The facility in Taylor, Texas, is operated for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the private prison company commonly known as Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, (which prefers to be called by its new corporate identity “CoreCivic” to obscure their three-decades long history). Guards at the facility are employees of the private prison company.

The letter describes a pattern of sexual assault that L.M. has endured since June. She writes that a female guard forced her into sexual acts against her will. “She harassed me, telling me threatening words and forcing me to have unwanted relations with her, which I did not want, but I had to do what she wanted,” she described. “She looked for or took advantage of every moment she could to touch my breasts or my legs, she knew where and when she did it, I don't remember dates because there are many. She worked in the recreation area and what she did with me she did with other residents.” [node:read-more:link]

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