The Department of Homeland Security needs to do a better job keeping records of sexual abuse allegations at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers. That’s the main finding of a new Government Accountability Office report released Wednesday.
GAO investigators looked at 215 allegations of sexual abuse at 10 detention facilities in California, Florida, Texas, and Washington between October 2009 and March 2013. In more than half the cases, it could not be determined whether the abuse had really occurred. Another 38 percent of allegations were deemed unfounded. Seven percent of the allegations were substantiated as occurring.
The GAO was unable to locate an additional 28 allegations that detainees reported because U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office officials did not report them to ICE headquarters.
Of the 15 substantiated cases, four involved a guard allegedly sexually abusing a detainee. The other 11 cases involved detainees allegedly sexually abusing another detainee. The allegations ranged from inappropriate touching to sexual assault. One female guard allegedly attempted sexual intercourse with a male detainee. A male detainee "repeatedly hit another male detainee in the face with his genitalia," the report said.