Law enforcement officials in San Antonio arrested a sheriff’s deputy on charges that he committed “super aggravated sexual assault” against a 4-year-old girl who is the daughter of an illegal immigrant. Officials said the deputy blackmailed the mother with threats that she would be deported if she reported the crime.
Police arrested Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy Jose Nunez on Sunday while he was off-duty following an outcry from the mother at a local fire station, NBC News reported Monday. The mother took her little girl to a fire station for help, officials stated at a news conference.
Nunez, a 47-year-old deputy who works as a detention officer in the Bexar County jail, could face a sentence of up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the charge of “super aggravated sexual assault,” NBC News stated.
“This suspect utilized to his advantage to place the mother in fear that she would be deported if she did report it,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar told reporters at a press conference. He added that the “little girl now is safe.”
“The details of the case are quite frankly heartbreaking, disturbing, disgusting and infuriating all at the same time,” Sheriff Salazar stated.
Salazar said the little girl suffered physical pain and “made an outcry.” Following the outcry, the mother went to a fire station to seek help. The sheriff also added that Nunez has “familial ties” to the woman and her daughter. He did not specify the nature of the relationship.
The sheriff said the abuse likely went on for several months, or maybe even years. He also said there could be other victims.
Nunez has served the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office for more than 10 years.
“I don’t know that he was purposely targeting the undocumented community,” Salazar said. “Certainly what was appealing was the vulnerability of that community because they are less apt to report things.”
Many Texas law enforcement officials make the claim that the state’s new sanctuary city law makes migrants less likely to report crimes they witness or are victims of. The officials fail to inform the public that the law referred to as SB4 actually prohibits police officers from inquiring about the immigration status of a crime victim or witness. The law even provides the authority to local law enforcement agencies to create “outreach activities to educate the public that a peace officer may not inquire into the immigration status of a victim of or witness to an alleged criminal offense.”
The law provides an exception to the prohibition only in cases where the inquiry is necessary in order to investigate the offense, as in crimes of human smuggling and extortion, or if the inquiry is made in order to “provide the victim or witness with information about federal visas designed to protect individuals providing assistance to law enforcement.”
The law goes on to “require” agencies to provide outreach to victims of family violence and sexual assault.
Sheriff Salazar said his department is petitioning to give the mother protected status while the case is pending.