Immigration detention center employee arrested for child sex abuse

By Ray Downs

Aug. 1 (UPI) -- An employee at an immigration detention center in Arizona has been arrested for molesting a child who is detained in the facility, Phoenix police said.

Fernando Magaz Negrete, 32, was arrested Tuesday and faces charges of child molestation, sexual abuse and aggravated assault, The Arizona Republic reported.


According to a police report, a 16-year-old girl said she saw Negrete "kissing and inappropriately touching" a 14-year-old female resident who was in the same cell, KPHO-TV reported.

The victim told police Negrete kissed her on the lips and she "pushed him away and got away," but he came back several times.

Police said surveillance video backs up her account and shows Negrete returning to the room "several times throughout the night" of June 27. The camera footage does not show what occurred inside the cell.

Officials said when confronted by police, Negrete told detectives he kissed and touched the girl.

The incident occurred at a facility ran by Southwest Key, a private company that runs juvenile detention facilities and child immigrant detention centers across the country.


According to a recent ProPublica investigation, there have been several allegations of child molestation at Southwest Key facilities since 2014.

On Wednesday, Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., wrote a letter to the head of the Health and Human Services Department urging an investigation to determine whether Southwest Key and other immigration detention contractors "are taking appropriate steps to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual abuse involving migrant children."

Latest Headlines