Levian Pacheco, a youth care worker at a federally funded Arizona migrant shelter that’s part of the government’s network of privately run facilities for unaccompanied minors, has been charged with eight counts of abusive sexual contact of a ward and three counts of sexual abuse of a ward in connection with incidents from August 2016 to July 2017 at Southwest Key’s Casa Kokopelli facility in Mesa.

Documents report that the eight unaccompanied minors were between 15 and 17. Pacheco denied the allegations.

Former immigrant shelter worker who is HIV positive charged with sex offenses

A former worker for an immigrant shelter in Arizona is charged with 11 sex offenses after he was accused of molesting eight unaccompanied boys in his care. A new report by ProPublica highlights the allegations against Levian Pacheco, who is HIV positive. Don Dahler reports.

“‘The allegations include that the defendant touched six of the victims on their genitalia over their clothing, and that he performed oral sex on two of the victims,’ according to a proposed stipulated joint description of the case. Pacheco is also accused of attempting to have anal sex with one of the boys.

Jeff Eller, a Southwest Key spokesman, said in a statement that employees accused of abuse are immediately suspended and police contacted. The nonprofit group runs migrant children’s shelters in several states, including Arizona, Texas, and California.

Eller said the alleged abuse was reported to state authorities as well as the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the US Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for the care and custody of unaccompanied migrant children.”1

The US Department of Health and Human Services issued a stop placement and immediately removed all children from the Mesa, Arizona shelter and said in a statement, “These are vulnerable children in difficult circumstances, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families treats our responsibility for each child with the utmost care. Any allegation of abuse or neglect is taken seriously, investigated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and appropriate action is taken.”2

Pacheco’s trial is set for later this month.

And last week, Fernando Magaz Negrete, 32, a worker at a Southwest Key facility in Phoenix, was arrested on suspicion of molesting a 14-year-old girl at the center in June. Something he admitted to during an interview with detectives.

In the last five years, police have responded to at least 125 calls alleging sex offenses at shelters that house immigrant children.

Sources and References

  1. CNN, August 4, 2018.
  2. CNN, August 4, 2018.