SHOCKING: HIV-positive shelter care worker sexually abused 8 immigrant children
The allegations against Pacheco include performing oral sex on two of the teenagers in the shelter and attempting to force one of them to penetrate him anally
A Southwest Key youth care worker, accused of sexually abusing at least eight unaccompanied immigrant boys, has been charged with 11 sex offenses, according to reports.
Authorities said that Levian D. Pacheco, who is HIV-positive, molested the children over a year at one of the company's immigrant shelters — Casa Kokopelli, Mesa, in Arizona. Southwest Key, the largest operator of immigrant youth shelters across the nation, runs eight such shelters in the state.
The allegations against Pacheco include performing oral sex on two of the teenagers in the shelter and attempting to force one of them to penetrate him anally. The other six children —teenagers between 15 and 17 — said that the accused had groped them through their clothing, according to HuffPost.
According to a court filing last week, all these incidents of sexual abuse at the shelter occurred between August 2016 and July 2017. Reports state that the case is now proceeding through the US District Court in Phoenix.
The Arizona Department of Health Services had cited the particular shelter where the incidents have been reported — Casa Kokopelli — in 2017 for failing to complete background checks to ensure that their employees had not committed had sex offenses and other crimes.
Records show that the 25-year-old Pacheco worked in the shelter for nearly four months without a complete background check. His records, reportedly, did not show any convictions for sex offenses or any previous arrests.
A probe was launched by local law enforcement and the US Department of Health and Human Services inspector general’s office, which led to Pacheco's indictment in August 2017.
The charges against the accused include eight counts of abusive sexual contact with a war and three counts of sexual acts with a ward. Pacheco, denied, the charges in court documents and plans to defend his case.
Separation of families at the United States-Mexico border came under severe scrutiny by activists, lawmakers and human rights organization across the world. The separation was a part of President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy associated with the crackdown on immigration in the country.
The family separation policy was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May. Under the policy, Trump administration separated children away from their parents, who illegally enter the country, and then handed them over to the Department of Health and Human Services for reallocation. The department then sends the children to federally funded, privately run shelters across the nation.
ProPublica, last week, reported that police officials across the country have responded to hundreds of calls reporting possible sex crimes at the shelters which serve immigrant children.