The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says it will investigate after a report that a 15-year-old girl in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody alleged that she was sexually assaulted by an agent.
A CBP spokesperson told NBC News on Tuesday that the agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) was aware of the allegation and would investigate the matter.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection treats those in our custody with dignity and respect and provides multiple avenues to report any allegations of misconduct,” the spokesperson said.
“The allegations do not align with common practice at our facilities and will be fully investigated. It’s important to note that the allegation of sexual assault is already under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General,” they added.
NBC News on Tuesday reported the girl’s allegations as well as other claims of mistreatment from dozens of immigrant children being held. The girl, who remained unidentified due to her age, told government case workers that she was stripped down to her underwear and groped while other children and agents were present, and that the offending agent made remarks to other officers in English and laughed during the assault, according to incident reports obtained by NBC.
“Minor reports officer asked her to lift her shirt up to bra line and then he put his hands inside her bra and touched her breast,” read an incident report obtained by the network. “Minor reported she felt embarrassed as the office[r] was speaking in English to other officers and laughing.”
Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsPelosi: House will ‘soon’ vote on contempt for Barr, Ross over census docs Hillicon Valley: Critics push FTC to get tough on YouTube | Analysts expect regulatory trouble for Facebook’s cryptocurrency | Senators to get election security briefing | FBI, ICE reportedly using driver’s license photos for facial recognition John Delaney: Decriminalizing border crossings is not ‘the right thing to do’ MORE (D-Md.), chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, told NBC that the girl’s allegation should be “fully investigated” and sharply criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpS&P 500 breaks 3,000 for first time Strife between Seoul and Tokyo makes Kim Jong Un’s DMZ victory even more valuable Chamber of Commerce hires former Giuliani, Cruz campaign aide MORE for claiming that the facilities faced no problems.
“These allegations are very concerning and need to be fully investigated. The president has denied any problems with these detention centers — despite multiple confirmed reports to the contrary — but it is the Trump administration’s own policies that have contributed to this humanitarian crisis and this lack of accountability,” Cummings said.