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Report: No evidence of sex abuse at Texas immigration lockup

February 6, 2015

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Department of Homeland Security investigators have found no evidence of sexual abuse and harassment at a Texas immigration lockup that houses women and children, according to a report released Friday.

The inspector general launched the investigation after a woman being held at the facility in Karnes City reported she’d heard rumors about women being removed from their cells at night to have sex with guards in the laundry room. Investigators interviewed 33 people and spent 380 hours investigating several allegations made by the woman, all of which were found to be untrue, according to the report.

Women interviewed by investigators denied engaging in any sexual activity with guards and said they received no preferential treatment in exchange for sexual favors, according to the report. Allegations that a detainee was impregnated by a guard were determined to be false after she voluntarily submitted to a pregnancy test, which turned up negative, the report said.

A review of 360 hours of surveillance video footage from the laundry room also failed to show any of the women being escorted there after hours. And investigators found no evidence that guards had deposited money into the commissary accounts of the women or paid for rental of apartments upon their release.

Attorneys representing women at the 500-plus-bed immigration facility filed a federal complaint last October after detainees told them that some women were removed from their cells at night to have sex with guards and were promised money or legal help with their pending cases in exchange for sexual favors.

It is not clear whether that complaint also factored into the investigation outlined in the report released Friday as there is no mention of it in the document, said Marisa Bono, an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which was one of the organizations that filed the complaint last October.

“It’s not clear whether this is the end of the matter,” she said, adding that “it’s difficult to say whether that investigation was sufficient.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian M. Christensen said in a statement that the report shows the agency is “committed to providing a safe and secure environment to all individuals in custody.”

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