February 22, 2024
The Otay Mesa Detention Heart, which has seen the most important variety of COVID-19 instances among the many nation’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement amenities, is run by CoreCivic, a non-public firm. Picture through corecivic.com.

A girl who labored for a Division of Homeland Safety workplace that manages complaints from immigration detainees has been charged by federal prosecutors with having a sexual relationship with a detainee on the Otay Mesa Detention Heart.

Shantal Hernandez, 36, of San Diego, is accused of getting an ongoing relationship with the unidentified detainee whereas she was working as a case supervisor on the Workplace of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman, an impartial workplace inside the Division of Homeland Safety. The workplace assists individuals with complaints concerning potential violations of immigration detention requirements and different misconduct by DHS workers.

The U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace alleges DHS acquired info indicating Hernandez was “spending an uncommon period of time with a detainee.” Additional investigation revealed “a major variety of sexually specific cellphone calls and digital communications” regarding the pair’s relationship.

In a kind of cellphone calls, Hernandez allegedly instructed the detainee she had a video of a intercourse act they engaged in and investigators later found a replica of such a video.

Hernandez is charged with sexual abuse of a ward, which carries a most penalty of 15 years in jail.

“Hernandez’s important function as a DHS OIDO case supervisor was to advertise protected and humane circumstances inside immigration detention,” mentioned Jeffrey Gilgallon, particular agent in cost for the Workplace of Skilled Accountability. “Nonetheless, she allegedly deserted that oversight position, as an alternative utilizing her place to interact in prohibited sexual exercise with an ICE detainee in one in all our detention amenities.

“OPR is totally dedicated to imposing ICE’s zero tolerance coverage towards sexual abuse in our detention amenities and aggressively pursuing these DHS workers who violate the regulation, irrespective of their position or title.”