AUSTIN (CN) – A Brazilian woman claims in Federal Court that she is the 10th woman to be sexually assaulted by a supervisor at a privately run immigration prison: the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas.
Kimberly Doe sued the United States in Federal Court. They are the only parties to the case.
But the 36-page complaint contains specific allegations that Donald Dunn, a supervisor at the Hutto Center, sexually assaulted her after doing so to at least nine other women in his custody.
“Dunn is known to have assaulted or sexually assaulted at least nine other female
immigrants between October 19, 2009, and May 7, 2010, when he transported them from the Hutto facility to either the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (the ‘Airport’) or the Greyhound Bus Station (the ‘Bus Station’) after they were released from detention,” according to the complaint. “Defendant Dunn had the opportunity to assault these women because, contrary to the contracts governing the administration and management of Hutto and relevant ICE policies and standards, he alone was transporting them to their respective destinations without any other attending officer, much less one of the same gender as the transported detainee.”
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Department arrested Dunn on Aug. 10, 2010, and charged him with three counts of official oppression and two counts of unlawful restraint, the complaint states. Doe says one count of oppression stemmed from Dunn’s assault upon her. The four other counts were based upon his alleged assaults upon other women, which are described in the complaint.
Doe says Dunn sexually assaulted her on April 15, 2010, as he drove her alone in a van. She says she fled her native Brazil due to repeated rapes and beatings by her husband and sought asylum in the United States.
Doe says that under ICE’s contract with Williamson County, it is expressly required that “[d]uring all transportation activities, at least one (1) transportation officer shall be of the same sex as the residents being transported.”
The Department of Homeland security and its creature, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, have documents at least 185 allegations of sexual abuse of immigration detainees in the past 4 years, according to the complaint. Of those, 56 were from detainees in Texas.
“ICE and ICE officials were directly responsible for the assaults on Ms. Kimberly Doe and the other victims, as well as for the trauma resulting from these assaults, in that they failed to implement and enforce the contracts, policies, and standards clearly and obviously designed to protect these women,” the complaint states.
“Defendant Dunn transported at least 51 female immigrant detainees besides the ten victims referenced above either to the Airport or to the Bus Station during the course of his employment at Hutto. On many occasions, he transported these women between midnight and 6 a.m. Given Defendant Dunn’s behavior patterns established by the facts as recounted above and by his own admissions, it is likely that he assaulted other women as well in the same or similar fashion. Indeed, Defendant Dunn admitted to Williamson County authorities that he had committed such violations against 50 percent to 75 percent of the women he transported. Further confirming this admission, Dunn picked out photographs during the Williamson County investigation of at least 13 women that he believed he assaulted without including the ten known victims referenced above. Nevertheless, ICE and ICE officers did nothing to hinder his activities in this regard.
“In statements to authorities, Dunn expressly stated that, after he assaulted his first victim, he had fears that officials might put a stop to it. When nothing happened, he knew he could proceed unhindered and moved on to assault many, many others, including plaintiff Kimberly Doe.”
Doe seeks damages for negligence and negligent monitoring. Her lead counsel is represented by Mark Whitburn with Whitburn Pevsner in Austin.