A Bexar County Sheriff's deputy is accused of raping a 4-year-old girl, then threatening to have her family deported if anyone spoke out, authorities said.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said one of his off-duty detention officers has been arrested following accusations that he repeatedly sexually assaulted a 4-year-old. While the case is ongoing, Salazar said investigators believe the abuse by Nunez, 47, had been ongoing for several months - if not several years.
Salazar told reporters that "another heartbreaking aspect" of the case was that Nunez used the Guatemalan mother's undocumented immigrant status "to his advantage" to keep her quiet. He is charged with super aggravated sexual assault, a charge applied when the victim is less than six years old. Police were working to obtain so-called "protected status" for the mother as the case against Nunez proceeds.
Salazar said police were notified after the girl's mother brought her to a local fire station after she cried out for help.More news: Southgate tells England players his secret starting team
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"Folks like this are creatures of habit and opportunity", Salazar said. "That's always a concern in the undocumented community".
Salazar also urged people who may be witness to a crime to come forward, even if they are an undocumented immigrant. "Certainly I think what appealed to him, in this case anyway, is the vulnerability of that community because of the fact that they're less apt to report things".
The arrest of the undocumented has come under scrutiny after a growing number of parents and their children are being separated at the border as part of the Trump administration's illegal immigration enforcement strategy.
Nunez, who is a 10-year veteran of the sheriff's office, engaged in physical contact with the child's genital area "which caused pain", Salazar said, adding there was "at least some indication of minor injury".