HHS docs show thousands of alleged incidents of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors in custody
Posted February 26, 2019 12:57 p.m. EST
Updated February 26, 2019 1:19 p.m. EST
CNN — The Department of Health and Human Services received more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors from 2014-2018, according to internal agency documents released Tuesday by Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch.
In addition,1,303 complaints were reported to the Justice Department during that same time frame, according to the documents.
Deutch addressed the documents during a high-profile House hearing Tuesday on the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that resulted in thousands of immigrant children being separated from their parents.
He said that the documents "demonstrate over the past three years, there have been 154 staff on unaccompanied minor, let me repeat that, staff on unaccompanied minor allegations of sexual assault."
"This works out on average to one sexual assault by HHS staff on unaccompanied minor per week," he added.
Axios first reported the documents.
"I am deeply concerned with documents that have been turned over by HHS that record a high number of sexual assaults on unaccompanied children in the custody of the Office of Refugee and Resettlement," Deutch said. "Together, these documents detail an environment of systemic sexual assaults by staff on unaccompanied children."
Some of the incidents that were reported to the Justice Department included allegations against staff members who were accused of having relationships with minors, unwanted sexual touching and showing the minors pornographic videos, according to Axios. Axios also reported that of the thousands of complaints, there were 178 accusations against the adult staff.