Ex-guard at NYC federal building pleads guilty in sex assault of asylum seeker

Apr 10, 2024, 10:37 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — A former security guard at a federal building in New York City where the FBI has its offices pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge related to the sexual assault of an asylum seeker.

Jimmy Solano-Arias, 42, of the Bronx, entered the plea in Manhattan federal court to making a false statement to the FBI about the sexual assault, authorities said.

As part of his plea deal, he agreed that federal sentencing guidelines recommend the maximum five-year prison term and that his scheduled July 9 sentencing should proceed under sentencing calculations made as if he had also been convicted of a charge of sexually abusing a vulnerable victim.

Without the plea deal, Solano-Arias could have faced life in prison if he had been convicted of a charge of deprivation of rights under color of law involving kidnapping and aggravated sexual abuse.

Solano-Arias remains free on bail following the May 4, 2023, attack at 26 Federal Plaza, a building across the street from the federal courts complex.

In an appearance before a magistrate judge, Solano-Arias admitted to lying to FBI agents a day after the attack.

He said he “initially said no such act took place.” Then, he added: “I’m sorry.”

Solano-Arias said he was a lawyer in the Dominican Republic before he came to the U.S. and gained citizenship.

He was hired by a company that provides security services at the lower Manhattan building near City Hall, the city’s police headquarters and numerous courts.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Solano-Arias had “abused the trust and privileges” of his job.

“Instead of working to keep the many federal employees and visitors at 26 Federal Plaza safe, Solano-Arias exploited his position of authority to sexually abuse an individual seeking asylum protection in the United States,” he said.

According to court documents, Solano-Arias spotted the victim in a line and offered to assist him with paperwork.

He eventually led the man to a locked office on the second floor of the building where he put his hand on his holstered firearm and demanded that the man provide oral sex, a criminal complaint said.

Although he initially resisted, the man complied because he saw Solano-Arias’s hand on his firearm and feared for his life, the complaint said.

After the attack, the man managed to record a brief video on his cellphone of Solano-Arias, and then reported the assault to authorities, the complaint said.

When Solano-Arias arrived for work the next day, federal agents confronted him. After initially denying any encounter with the victim, he later claimed that what occurred was consensual, authorities said.

United States News

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Ex-guard at NYC federal building pleads guilty in sex assault of asylum seeker