PHOENIX – Federal authorities claim that a former youth care worker at a Phoenix-area facility for immigrant young people sexually abused eight boys, one of the many cases brought to light in the past few weeks, thousands of immigrant children in prison throughout the country.
Court documents show Levian Pacheco faces several charges arising from the incidents that allegedly took place between August 2016 and July 2017 at a Southwest Key facility in Mesa. The case was first reported by ProPublica.
Authorities charged that Pacheco performed sexual acts on two boys and hit six others, all between the ages of 15 and 17 at the time. Court documents also state that Pacheco is HIV-positive and that some of the young people who chose to be tested for the virus.
Pacheco has pleaded not guilty and denied the allegations. His federal public prosecutor has said in court documents that the government’s allegations of crimes committed by Pacheco include an “extraordinarily wide range of dates and the lack of specificity.”
“We look forward to defending Mr. Pacheco in the court,” lawyer Benjamin Good said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
The revelation Thursday came a day after the police said that another employee at another Southwest Key facility, Fernando Magaz Negrete is accused of murdering a 14-year-old immigrant girl.
The authorities say that Magaz Negrete kissed and fondled the girl in her bedroom on June 27, in a meeting witnessed the girl’s 16-year-old roommate. They said surveillance video shows Magaz Negrete, 32, approaching the bedroom a number of times during the night, although the bedroom itself was outside the camera’s view.
Southwest Key dismissed Magaz Negrete. It was not clear whether he is represented by a lawyer.
The Texas-based non-profit organization, the largest in command of the AMERICAN government to house immigrant children, under supervision, for its practices in the various shelters around the Southwest. Many of the more than 2,000 children who were separated from their parents after crossing the border illegally are held in the Southwest of the Major amenities.
The victims in the case against Pacheco were all unaccompanied minors and it is not clear whether they were separated from their parents or traveled to the united states only, although the government was not on a large scale separation of families at the time of the incidents.
Southwest Key spokesman Jeff Eller said in an e-mail that Pacheco was immediately suspended and the police were called when allegations surfaced.
He said Southwest Key, and the Health and Human Services department, which is entrusted with the care of immigrant youth, take each incident seriously, “and there is a never-ending process to improve care and standards.”
ProPublica has published a report in July said the police responded to at least 125 calls reporting sex offences in shelters in the first place referred to immigrant children as of 2014. The report detailed 2015 an incident in Tucson, Arizona in the Southwest of the Main facility, which authorities said a worker was a 15-year-old Honduran boy’s penis outside his clothing. The employee was dismissed and later sentenced for abuse.