Monday, August 23, 2010

CCA Detention Officer Admits Groping Women

Originally found here.

Detention officer admits groping women
Hutto immigration facility employee faces charges

Updated: Friday, 20 Aug 2010, 6:45 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 19 Aug 2010, 5:24 PM CDT

Jarrod Wise
Jackie Vega

TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) - A former employee of a federal immigration detention center has been arrested after police say he admitted to groping several women he was supposed to be transporting to the airport after being released on bond.

Donald Charles Dunn, 30, a resident supervisor at the T. Don Hutto facility in Taylor and employee of Correction Corporation of America, told officers that on these trips, "he told the women he was going to 'frisk' them and then inappropriately touched their breasts, crotch and buttocks," according to a news release by the Williamson County Sheriff's Office.

"Mr. Dunn advised that he didn’t do this for safety concerns but as self gratification," the release said. "Mr. Dunn indicated to Detectives that he had done this to numerous other women while performing his duties as a transport officer."

Dunn told officers he had done this with several women, while he was transporting them late at night, and would stop at several locations in Williamson and Travis counties to abuse them on the way to Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

The women were being given the rides to the airport and bus stations as a courtesy while they were out on bond, awaiting immigration hearings.

"So, I'm sick of the lack of oversight that got us here and I am disgusted with the continued failure to adequately manage this facility," said Lisa Grabill with the Texas ACLU.

The first report came on May 11, 2010 , when Austin police told Williamson County Sheriff's deputies that a woman had alerted an airport official that she had been abused on the way to the airport from the facility in Taylor. That's when detectives met with Dunn and listened to his description of groping "numerous women" while doing his duties as a transport officer.

"The only reason we know about this is that one of these women said to an airport transportation person, this isn't supposed to happen in this country is it? And the fact that question even has to be asked is what I find so devastating about this situation," said Graybill.

Graybill has been following the problems and criticism the facility has had since they opened in 2006.

"Opposite sex transport officers are not supposed to be alone with detainees, and that happened not once, not twice, but apparently as many as 10 times leaving these women vulnerable to abuse," she said.

"A large scale investigation into the current locations of other possible victims began immediately after Mr. Dunn’s interview," the news release said. "Detectives from Williamson County and Immigration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Office of Professional Responsibility/San Antonio) set out to make contact with several of the possible victims, who had located across the country since bonding out of the facility.

"Mr. Dunn was subsequently terminated from his contract employment with Correction Corporation of America when the allegation was first reported to authorities."

The investigation revealed that all of the possible victims of Mr. Dunn had been released on bond from the facility and were being transported to the Austin-Bergstrom Airport or bus station when the attacks occurred.

It was during these "courtesy transports" that Dunn would stop at different locations in the areas of both Travis and Williamson County.

Three women said they'd been inappropriately touched.Two of those victims said they were taken against their will to a location near a convenience store, during which one woman said she thought she'd either be killed or raped.

"Several (other) women who were interviewed denied any contact with Mr. Dunn," the statement read. "Some of those advised that they were transported in the daylight hours and or it was raining. Several women could not be located for questioning because of out of date addresses with Immigration and Customs Enforcement."

Dunn was arrested on Thursday around 5 p.m. in Austin and was jailed on $35,000 bond. He faces three counts of official oppression and two counts of unlawful restraint.

The investigation is still ongoing at this time. Anyone having information about a victim or Mr. Dunn’s crimes is encouraged to call the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office at 512-943-1300 or the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

According to the news release:

The T. Don Hutto facility opened in May, 2006 as a family residential facility housing families while they awaited their immigration hearings or decisions The facility changed over to housing females in a separate area of the facility in February, 2008 and in September, 2009 the entire facility began housing only females. The facility is operated under an Immigration and Customs Intergovernmental Service Agreement with Williamson County. Williamson County contracts with Corrections Corporation of America for the facility's day-to-day operation. A new agreement with Williamson County became effective February 1, 2010. The facility employees 169 Correction Corporation of America Staff, 30 U.S. Immigration and Customs