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Claim of Improper Relationships Between ICE Detention Officers, Female Detainees Invalid, DHS IG Finds

Following Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) agents interviewing 33 witnesses and spending 380 hours investigating allegations of inappropriate relationships between detention officers and female detainees at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detention Facility in Karnes City, Texas, the OIG said it "found no evidence to substantiate the allegations and were unable to identify a victim or suspect in this matter.”

According to the OIG report on the investigation, “We initiated an investigation after counsel for one detainee reported misconduct on the part of detention officers at the facility. Specifically, a female detainee reported hearing rumors that several detention officers and several female detainees were possibly engaged in inappropriate sexual relationships, which reportedly occurred in a laundry room and restroom during late night or early morning hours.”

Among the allegations made by the complainant were:

A female detainee was being escorted by a male detention officer into the laundry room, after hours, under the pretext of washing clothes to engage in sex;

  • A female detainee may have been impregnated by a detention officer;
  • Female detainees were receiving preferential treatment in exchange for sex;
  • Detention officers were depositing money into female detainees’ commissary accounts in return for sex or preferential treatment;
  • One particular detention officer rented an apartment in San Antonio, Texas, for a female detainee to use upon her release from the facility;
  • Detention officers retaliated against the complainant by fabricating "write ups" indicating she had violated facility policies. These "write ups" were supposedly to be used against the complainant during her pending immigration proceedings; and
  • A supervisory detention officer knew of the misconduct and failed to take appropriate action.

But what the OIG’s investigation found, according to the final report, was, “Each of the female detainees identified by the complainant denied they had ever engaged in any form of inappropriate activity, to include sexual acts, with any detention officers,” and that, “They also each denied having been escorted into a laundry room, restroom, or other area to engage in any sexual activity or having received any money, benefits, or preferential treatment in exchange for sex or anything of value.”

As for the female reportedly impregnated by a detention officer, she “denied the allegation and voluntarily submitted to a pregnancy test which was negative,” the OIG reported.

Continuing, the OIG stated, “Review of over 360 hours of time lapsed surveillance video footage of the laundry room and day room areas failed to confirm that any of the detainees were escorted to those areas after hours by detention officers.”

In addition, the OIG determined, “Review of the detention facility’s commissary account records determined that none of the deposits into these accounts were made by detention officers,” and that, “Each of the detention officers who could have been referenced by the complainant denied the allegations. Specifically, each denied engaging in any misconduct with any female detainee, including any apartment rentals, deposits into commissary accounts, after-hours escorts, having sex or sexual relations with female detainees, impregnating any female detainee or providing preferential treatment in exchange for sex.”

The OIG’s final report indicated that based on detainee interviews, the complainant and other female detainees may have had some sort of relationship before the complaints were made.

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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