More than 4,500 allegations of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services during the past four years, according to internal documents issued by the representative of the United States. agency. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchHouse: a Bill to Extend Firearms Sales Background Audits Whitaker Cooks at Parkland's Father, Legislator of the House of Representatives of the House of Representatives of the House Commons, arguing in favor of a border wall at the hearing on gun violence: "Enough offensive" (D-Fla.).
In addition, the documents showed that over 1,000 cases had been reported to the Department of Justice.
The charges included rumors of sexual relations between staff members and minors, reports of violent attacks on the genitals of minors by staff members, and inappropriate contact between staff and minors.
Deutch stated that the agency had provided the documents in response to a request for information from the Judiciary Committee of the House.
At a committee hearing on Tuesday about the administration's "zero tolerance" policy of separating families at the border, Deutch questioned agency officials about the results of the investigation.
This policy has resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents on the southern border and placed under the care of HHS.
"These documents describe in detail an environment of systemic sexual assaults committed by staff on unaccompanied children," said Deutch.
"In the last three years, 154 staff have been assigned to unaccompanied minors. Let me repeat, staff members to allegations of sexual assault of unaccompanied minors. This equates, on average, to a weekly sexual assault of HHS staff on unaccompanied minors, "said Deutch.
According to HHS spokesperson Caitlin Oakley, every shelter operated by the agency is licensed independently from the state where it is located.
"The safety of minors is our main concern when administering our program for unaccompanied foreign children. Each of our beneficiaries operating standard accommodation centers is licensed by the respective state for child care services. In addition to the rigorous standards put in place by the HHS Children's and Family Administration's Refugee Resettlement Office (RRB), background checks on all employees at the facility are mandatory, "said Oakley. communiqué addressed to The Hill.
The documents show that between October 2014 and July 2018, the HHS Refugee Rehabilitation Office received 4,556 complaints and that the Ministry of Justice received 1,303 complaints. The allegations date back to the Obama administration.
This includes 178 allegations of sexual abuse by adult staff. In many of these cases, the grievor was eventually dismissed from his position.
"These are vulnerable children in difficult circumstances and ORR fully understands its responsibility to ensure that every child is treated with the utmost care," Oakley said. "When allegations of abuse, sexual abuse or neglect are made, they are taken seriously and ORR acts quickly to investigate and respond."