Gallego requests federal investigation into abuse of migrant children

Aug 1, 2018, 6:45 PM
(AP Photo/Matt York)...
(AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — An Arizona lawmaker requested an investigation into whether facilities commissioned by the government are doing enough to prevent the migrant children in their custody from being physically or sexually abused.

The request from U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego to Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson came on the same day that a 32-year-old former Southwest Key employee was arrested for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old girl at a Phoenix facility.

Gallego pointed to a news report from ProPublica that revealed “repeated instances of physical and sexual abuse” at 70 of the approximately 100 Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters nationwide as one of the reasons why the investigation was needed.

“What we have seen so far at these facilities is there have been instances of children being preyed upon and sexually assaulted, so we are asking for accountability from these facilities,” Gallego said in an interview with KTAR News 92.3 FM. 

“These children are wards of the state, which means we are responsible for them,” he added.

“We pay these facilities and their job is to keep them safe and secure.”

Gallego said he would like to know how the facilities deal with incidents of alleged sexual and physical abuse, whether the victims undergo therapy, what deterrents are there — if any — to prevent abuse and what the steps and processes are to inform the public and police of the abuse.

“We want to know that these companies are responsible while children are in their care,” he said.

“We want to do everything we can to prevent (abuse from) happening to other kids.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report. 

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

The late Sen. John McCain and former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords were selected to receive the Presiden...

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from July 1-3

Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.
1 day ago
(Ruth Charlene Davidson - Phoenix Police photo)...

Silver Alert canceled for 86-year-old woman last seen in Phoenix

A Silver Alert was canceled Sunday night for an 86-year-old woman named Ruth Charlene Davidson who last seen in driving in north Phoenix.
1 day ago
(Pixabay Photo)...

2 men dead, 1 arrested following shooting at Phoenix bar

Two men are dead and one was arrested early Sunday after a shooting took place at a Phoenix bar and grill, authorities said. 
1 day ago
The DoorDash app is shown on a smartphone on Feb. 27, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/File)...

Phoenix establishments named on DoorDash’s 100 most loved restaurants

DoorDash released The 100 Most Loved All-Stars Restaurant on its app and two different Phoenix establishments made the list.
1 day ago
(Phoenix Police Department Photo)...

Phoenix police investigating shooting that leaves 1 dead, 2 injured

Police are investigating a shooting early Sunday morning that left one man dead and injured two others, authorities said. 
1 day ago
(Arizona Department of Transportation)...

Silver Alert canceled for 90-year-old man last seen in Sun City West

A Silver Alert issued Saturday night for a missing 90-year-old man last seen in Sun City West was canceled, authorities said. 
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Gallego requests federal investigation into abuse of migrant children