A law enforcement officer in Texas has been accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl and warning her mother, who had immigrated to the US illegally, that he would have her deported if she went to the authorities, PEOPLE confirms.
Jose Nunez, a 10-year veteran detention officer for the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, was arrested Sunday after the girl "made an outcry" to her mother late Saturday, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar told reporters during a news conference. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, said Leslie Garza of the Bexar County district attorney's office. The victim was a 4-year-old girl. The girl's mother took her to the fire department to make a report.
"The little girl now is safe and we're continuing to process the case", Salazar said.
The girl had been sexually abused several times going back months, or even years, the sheriff said, adding that there may be more victims.
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The child is a relative of Nunez, officials said, but did not disclose details of how they are related. Investigators quickly, stepped in and arrested Nunez around 3 a.m. Sunday.
The law goes on to "require" agencies to provide outreach to victims of family violence and sexual assault. "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".
Police have not released the victim's residency status and the mother has been given a protected status in the case.
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 is on administrative leave pending the completion of an investigation.