[fla-left] [human rights/immigrant rights] Krome Detainee alleges 2nd sex attack (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Tue Jun 6 16:30:28 MDT 2000

forwarded by Michael Hoover

> Published Tuesday, June 6, 2000, in the Miami Herald
>  Detainee alleges 2nd sex attack
>  aviglucci at herald.com
> The Mexican transsexual allegedly raped by a Krome immigration detention
> center officer said she was assaulted twice by the same guard -- and that
> she had reported the first incident to three people before the second
> occurred.
> According to the detainee's attorney, Robert Sheldon, his client complained
> to a Krome psychiatrist, a Mexican consular official and a Krome supervisor
> about the first alleged assault over a period of several days.
> Nevertheless, the same officer gained access to her again, said Sheldon,
> who is suing the government on his client's behalf. The second rape
> allegedly took place one day after the detainee told the Krome supervisor,
> he said. The allegations are under federal investigation.
> The Mexican consulate confirmed that a consular official interviewed the
> detainee six days after the first alleged assault.
> An Immigration and Naturalization Service spokesman in Miami declined to
> comment on the allegations, citing the open investigation by the Justice
> Department's Office of the Inspector General.
> ``Until there is a finding, there is nothing we can say,'' said INS
> spokesman Rodney Germain.
> A Krome source with knowledge of the case confirmed that the detainee, a
> male-to-female
> transsexual who legally adopted a female name, made two separate
> allegations of rape against the
> same officer, who has been transferred out of the detention center pending
> the outcome of the
> investigation.
> The source said Krome administrators did try to protect the detainee after
> the first complaint by
> transferring her from an isolation cell where the initial rape allegedly
> occurred to a respiratory isolation ward in the camp's clinic.
> But the officer apparently gained access by delivering a meal tray, the
> source said.
> The Mexican consul in Miami, Oscar Elizundia, confirmed that the detainee
> complained of the first
> alleged assault to a consular official who visits Krome regularly. That
> interview took place on Friday,
> May 19, Elizundia said.
> By the time the consul received the report the following Monday, the second
> assault had allegedly occurred the day before, and the INS had transferred
> the detainee to a local hospital, Elizundia
> said.
> ``According to our procedures, we opened an investigation and we consulted
> with the INS,'' he said. ``Cases of violations of the civil rights of our
> citizens are of the highest priority for the Mexican government. We will
> cooperate in the investigation so we can know the truth of what happened.''
> The rape allegation is one of a series of sexual scandals to hit Krome in
> the past several weeks.
> At least two other officers have been transferred out of Krome, one for
> allegedly maintaining a sexual liaison with a female detainee who became
> pregnant. The other, a supervisor, allegedly knew about the relationship
> but failed to report it, Krome sources say.
> In addition, another detainee became pregnant while at Krome, allegedly by
> a detainee.
> Both incidents are also under federal investigation.
> Sheldon, the Mexican detainee's attorney, said Krome officers mistreated
> his client from the moment she arrived at the detention center May 4, after
> an immigration judge denied her request for political asylum. INS officers
> arrested his client, who had not been previously detained by the INS, at
> the immigration courtroom in downtown Miami after the hearing, he said.
> His client is taking hormone therapy for a sex change but has not completed
> the procedure. Sheldon alleged that officers touched her breast implants
> and followed his client to the bathroom to gawk.
> ``This was not handled in a professional manner. From the moment she got
> there, people would make constant jokes. An environment was created that
> was not a serious environment,'' Sheldon said. ``Nothing was really done to
> protect her.''
> Sheldon said his client, who is 35, decided to flee her native state of
> Veracruz for the United States in 1991 after a lifetime of harassment,
> including from her own family, and a severe beating on the street.
> According to his client, Sheldon said, local police identified the
> assailants but did not arrest them.
> ``The Mexican police told her they weren't going after them because she was
> a transsexual,'' Sheldon said. ``She felt she could not be safe anywhere in
> Mexico. She came to Miami Beach because she thought this was the one place
> she would not be discriminated against.''
> She filed for asylum in July 1998, claiming she would face persecution in
> Mexico as a transsexual. The INS is also receiving increasing numbers of
> applications from gays from Mexico and other Latin American countries who
> claim they face persecution because of their sexual orientation. Some have
> been successful, after persuading an immigration judge that local
> authorities failed to protect them from, or connived in, persecution from
> private citizens.
> Elizundia, the Mexican consul, denied that transsexuals and gays are the
> target of official persecution at home.
> According to Sheldon, however, an INS asylum officer recommended that his
> client receive protection, and a judge agreed. But the grant of asylum,
> conditioned on a check of his client's fingerprints, was rescinded after
> the judge found that she had failed to report two local misdemeanor
> convictions. Sheldon would not reveal the nature of the convictions, which
> don't show up in local
>  criminal records.
> ``They felt she wasn't as honest as they wanted her to be,'' Sheldon said.
> The denial of asylum is under appeal, he said.
> Krome sources say Sheldon's client was initially placed in a small men's
> dorm adjacent to the camp
> clinic. She was removed to an isolation cell after officers received
> reports she was having sex with residents, the sources said.
> She is now at a private hospital, still under INS detention. A judge
> approved her release on $15,000 bond after the alleged rapes, but his
> client doesn't have the money, Sheldon said.
>  Herald Writer Chris Gaither contributed to this report.

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