On November 9, 23-year-old Salvadoran asylum seeker Laura Monterrosa spoke out about the sexual abuse she has experienced since June while she has been detained at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center, operated by private prison corporation CoreCivic (formerly called Corrections Corporation of America). The Independent reported on Monterrosa’s story on November 7 following advocacy by Grassroots Leadership.
In her letter, Laura writes how 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. 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.”
Monterrosa spoke out publicly on November 9 following several media articles. Since then, she reports that she has experienced retaliation from within the detention center. She remains detained while her abuser continues to be employed at the facility by CoreCivic. “In this place, we don’t have rights, only duties," she said in a letter to Grassroots Leadership.
Two women joined Monterrosa in denouncing sexual abuse they experienced while detained at Hutto on November 22. One woman, ‘Ana,’ was transferred to another private detention center in Laredo after filing her formal complaint.