Shelter worker convicted of sexually abusing migrant boys

A former youth care worker accused of sexually abusing teenage boys at a federally funded Arizona migrant sh...

Posted: Sep 12, 2018 3:09 PM
Updated: Sep 12, 2018 3:09 PM

A former youth care worker accused of sexually abusing teenage boys at a federally funded Arizona migrant shelter has been convicted on several counts of sexual abuse, the Justice Department said.

Levian Pacheco was convicted of seven counts of abusive sexual contact with a ward and three counts of sexual abuse of a ward in a seven-day trial that ended last week, the department said in a Monday news release. That's a conviction on all but one count with which he was charged. He originally faced an additional count of abusive sexual contact with a ward.

Child abuse

Child sexual abuse

Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal convictions

Criminal law

Criminal offenses

Immigration

Immigration, citizenship and displacement

International relations and national security

Law and legal system

North America

Sex and gender issues

Sex crimes

Sexual assault

Society

The Americas

United States

Verdicts

Sentencing is slated for December 3.

"Ensuring the safety of all individuals held in federal custody is of utmost importance to this office," First Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Strange said, adding that the verdict "sends a message to others in positions of trust that these crimes will not be tolerated."

The abuse occurred between August 2016 and July 2017 at Southwest Key's Casa Kokopelli facility in Mesa, court records show. It was part of the US government's network of privately run facilities intended to care for unaccompanied minors, according to court documents.

Pacheco began working there in May 2016.

The seven boys he was convicted of abusing, some on multiple occasions, were between 15 and 17, according to court documents. They were being held in detention pending possible deportation, and Pacheco, a youth care worker, supervised the minors, the Justice Department said.

Pacheco touched six of the children's genitalia over their clothes, performed oral sex on two boys and attempted to have anal sex with one of them, court documents alleged.

"The age of these individuals, their separation from parents and relatives, and the hazardous journey they take make unaccompanied alien children especially vulnerable to human trafficking, exploitation and abuse," an affidavit issued before the trial said.

Jeff Eller, a Southwest Key spokesman, said in a statement last month that employees accused of abuse are immediately suspended and that police are contacted. The nonprofit group runs migrant children's shelters in several states, including Arizona, Texas and California.

Eller said the abuse was reported to state authorities as well as to the US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is responsible for the care of unaccompanied migrant children.

"We educate every child in our care upon arrival to the facility of their right to be free from abuse or neglect in this program and this country," he said. "This message is repeated to the children throughout the duration of their stay at our shelters."

The US Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement after Pacheco's arrest that it removed all children from the Mesa, Arizona, shelter.

In early August, the Southwest Key facility in Phoenix saw one of its employees arrested on suspicion of molesting a 14-year-old girl at the center. The girl and two of her roommates accused the employee of kissing her at the Phoenix facility in June, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by CNN affiliate KTVK.

One of the roommates also alleged the employee inappropriately touched the girl, the affidavit said.

Last month, ProPublica reported that police had responded to at least 125 calls in the past five years alleging sex offenses at shelters that house immigrant children.

The investigative nonprofit said police reports and call logs also document allegations of fights and missing children.

West Lafayette
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 50°
Kokomo
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 50°
Rensselaer
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 46°
Fowler
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 46°
Williamsport
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 46°
Crawfordsville
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 48°
Frankfort
Scattered Clouds
48° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 45°
Delphi
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 48°
Monticello
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 48°
Logansport
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 44°
Cooler weather is settling in.....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 117450

Reported Deaths: 3580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21403766
Lake10618323
Elkhart6667111
St. Joseph6576110
Allen6292203
Hamilton4909109
Vanderburgh371931
Hendricks2747123
Monroe262736
Tippecanoe252313
Johnson2338124
Clark223657
Porter217647
Delaware198562
Cass19549
Vigo184327
Madison168975
LaPorte147441
Floyd138963
Warrick134440
Howard131863
Kosciusko124817
Bartholomew117957
Marshall101224
Dubois99119
Boone98646
Grant93334
Hancock93243
Noble92532
Henry80926
Jackson7689
Wayne76814
Morgan72938
Daviess67728
Shelby67729
Dearborn66528
LaGrange63911
Clinton60914
Harrison58724
Putnam58112
Gibson5305
Knox5259
Lawrence51529
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48711
White48614
Decatur45839
Miami4383
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper3992
Steuben3877
Scott38111
Posey3400
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31125
Ripley3038
Clay3025
Orange28824
Whitley2796
Carroll27713
Adams2743
Wabash2718
Washington2691
Starke2677
Wells2654
Spencer2593
Jefferson2483
Huntington2453
Fulton2412
Tipton22822
Perry22113
Randolph2207
Jay1880
Newton17311
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1621
Rush1574
Vermillion1300
Fountain1282
Blackford1203
Pulaski1131
Crawford1080
Brown1043
Parke1032
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren401
Unassigned0226

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events