Activists say transgender woman raped at Arizona immigrant center

PHOENIX Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:48pm EDT

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PHOENIX (Reuters) - Rights activists called on Thursday for the immediate release of a transgender women allegedly raped by her cellmate at an Arizona immigrant detention center, accusing authorities of refusing to provide for her safety.

The activists say immigration and detention center officials have shown they are incapable of protecting the 23-year-old woman following the alleged July 20 sexual assault at the Eloy Detention Center, southeast of Phoenix.

The woman, Marichuy, whose legal name is Jesus Leal Gamino, has been detained for more than a year at the 1,437-detainee center, which is operated by Corrections Corporation of America under a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"We see no other solution than for ICE to immediately release her, where her community can take measures to ... help her heal," said Francisco Luna, a spokesman for Arcoiris Liberation Team, one of the groups calling for the woman's release.

ICE confirmed the alleged rape was reported and said the case was referred to the "appropriate authorities" for investigation. In a statement, it said it was committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of all those in its custody.

"ICE has a strict zero tolerance policy for any kind of abusive or inappropriate behavior in its facilities and takes any allegations of such mistreatment very seriously," it said.

An ICE spokeswoman said the agency could not discuss the woman's immigration case history due to privacy concerns.

A Corrections Corporation spokesman would not specifically comment on the case, but said its officials also take such matters seriously and investigate reported allegations.

"Any allegation of this nature is also reported to outside law enforcement so that an independent investigation can be conducted," the company said in a statement.

(Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric Walsh)

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Comments (3)
gavinwca wrote:
You mean this guy was forcibly sodomised, what did he do to be in prison in the firśt place? We do no jail illegal ALIANS for being illegal, this is pretty slick to demand his release without telling us who he raped, murdered or assaulted. Other prisoners get assaulted in jail we do not release them . Why should we release this mentally deranged Criminal.

Aug 01, 2014 11:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse
OdinsAcolyte wrote:
Not the best example. Show more concern over the child sex slaves.

Aug 01, 2014 12:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
FriendlyTxn wrote:
It’s not a woman. It was a man who was sodomized by another man. The victim acted and dressed like a woman, but had no vagina, right? So he’s not a woman. Let’s get specific here, please. Don’t allow biological reality to be compromised by political craziness.

Aug 01, 2014 11:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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