BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CN) – Federal agents and local police let a sexual predator go after he beat a 7-year-old boy unconscious and sodomized him in a restroom at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office on the International Bridge – and they let the man go because his young victim is Mexican, his mother claims in Federal Court.
On the day of the incident, June 1, 2008, the boy entered the United States with his family at the Brownsville-Matamoros International Bridge. His mother, MLV, claims they came at the request of the FBI, which wanted to question the boy’s grandmother in a criminal investigation of a county commissioner.
The FBI “agreed to safeguard all of them while in the U.S. for government purposes,” the boy’s mother says.
The mother says that when her son did not return from the Customs office restroom she grew alarmed and knocked on its door. When no one answered, she pushed on the door until it gave way, and “she found herself facing a man wearing glasses and a striped shirt,” according to the complaint.
She asked the man if he had seen a little boy, and he pointed to the floor inside a bathroom stall then raced past her out of the bathroom, MLV says.
“From the doorway [the mother] looked inside and saw her child lying on the floor, unconscious, facedown, his pants and underwear pulled down around his ankles,” according to the complaint.
“An ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] agent heard her screams and then saw the suspected perpetrator running from the scene, and he began to chase him,” the mother says. “The ICE agent caught the assailant and brought him into custody.”
But federal agents then “acted in ways that defy basic decency, much less common sense for preserving evidence and caring for a victim,” she says.
“Instead of immediately contacting medical professionals or preserving key evidence their first reaction was to pull up [her son’s] underwear and pants and buckle his belt and to make light of the incident,” the mother says.
She says the agents immediately separated her from her son and questioned them, though she told them that her son was susceptible to stress-induced seizures. After the questioning, the mother says, she recognized the “far-off stare” in her son’s eyes that signaled an oncoming seizure, and told agents they needed to put something in his mouth so he did not bite his tongue.
“The agents complied, placing a pencil in [her son’s] mouth just before [he] seized,” the mother says.
“Incredibly, even after [her son’s] obvious sexual assault, blow to the head and seizure the federal agents maintained that [he] did not require medical attention,” his mother says.
The child predator remains at large, she says.
“At some point, the Brownsville PD apparently assumed the investigation and custody of the perpetrator,” she says. “Yet the USA and/or the Brownsville defendants released the suspect, though there was ample evidence to charge him with the sexual assault of JM.”
The complaint states: “Incredibly, on Nov. 13, 2008, more than 5½ months after the crime, the Brownsville Assistant City Attorney informed counsel for [the boy] and his mother that they had finally received the laboratory reports that showed no evidence of rape. He stated further that the case had been made inactive and would not be referred to a district attorney. If forensic evidence was not available to the crime lab it is only through the fault of the Defendants in preserving evidence. There is no question that a heinous assault was committed on a 7 year old boy at a U.S. government building while in the custody of the USA and law enforcement, yet the Brownsville P.D. somehow concluded it was not necessary to properly investigate or seek to prosecute the perpetrator.
“Moreover, [Brownsville Police] Chief [Carlos] Garcia received and had access to ample evidence that should have caused him to make certain that the crime was properly investigated and the sexual predator was brought to justice. Given his disinterest in pursuing the crime with any diligence, it can only be inferred that he was discriminating against the 7 year-old victim and his mother because of their nationality. Chief Garcia’s communications during the alleged investigation betray his lack of interest or concern for the victim [or] his mother. Plaintiffs expect discovery to further reveal this bias as it pertains to other criminal investigations that were not pursued with diligence. Plaintiffs further expect these cases will also reveal that these perpetrators were not brought to justice because the victims were Mexican nationals.”
The mother and son sued the United States, the City of Brownsville, its Police Department and Chief Garcia, alleging negligence, conspiracy and civil rights violations.
They are represented by Steve Carrigan of Houston.