Demand a Just and Transparent Investigation into Sexual Assaults at Hutto

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Dear Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody,

For the safety of all of the immigrant women detained at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center I ask that you launch a just and transparent investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by guards at the facility. I urge you to conduct a fair investigation, and prevent any retaliation by ICE or private prison corporation CoreCivic/CCA guards at the Hutto Detention Center.

On November 6th, ICE, CoreCivic/CCA, and your Sheriff Deputies were part of an interview with the victim. The interview followed the pattern of vilification that is well known by women who come forward after being assaulted and ask for help. During their interview, ICE agents insisted that the victim was making up the claims. The victim provided the Williamson County Sheriff’s Deputies, as well as ICE and CoreCivic/CCA, with the names of other guards who witnessed the incident. The victim tells us that those witnesses have now been terminated by the facility, while the perpetrator is still employed.

From 2010 to 2016, out of approximately 33,000 complaints of physical and sexual abuse filed with the DHS Office of Inspector General, less than 1 percent were actually investigated. Victims are often retaliated against, and punished just for coming forward. In fact, T. Don Hutto itself has been home to two well-publicized sexual abuse scandals since its opening 11 years ago. 

We ask that the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office please launch a fair and just investigation into these allegations. We are asking that you hold CoreCivic/CCA and ICE officials accountable for the systematic abuses faced by this victim, especially since she remains detained at the Hutto center.

This abuse has been taking place since June of 2017. As an immigrant facing deportation and in an immigration center, this woman has no other way to reach out for help. She is already worried that she will be silenced, in her own words she said: “I got tired of all of this and asked her “no more”, because I was very scared, but [the guard] didn’t care and I told her that I was going to talk to the captain, but she laughed with a sarcastic laugh and said "do you think that he will believe you? Please, they never will."