Border Patrol agent accused of rape
October 30, 2007 - 12:09AM
PHARR — Authorities are investigating claims that a U.S. Border Patrol agent raped a Las Milpas woman after detaining her on immigration charges last week.
The alleged victim, 38, told police the agent ordered her into his patrol vehicle, drove her to an isolated area and forced her to have sex with him during the early morning hours of Oct. 23.
Both federal and Pharr police investigators have been unable to locate the agent since the allegations were made against him immediately after the incident last week, according to sources close to the case.
On Monday, local Border Patrol spokesman Oscar Saldaña confirmed his agency was looking into the claims but refused to identify the agent involved. Pharr police also wouldn’t identify the man, described as being in his 40s, because no charges had been filed against him.
Saldaña further declined to say whether the man had reported for work since last week, and no timeline on when an investigation might be complete was available.
“This is just an accusation,” Saldaña said. “We are cooperating fully with the investigating authorities.”
But, the woman told police that the agent stopped her and a friend as they left a Las Milpas bar after 3 a.m.
After determining that that they were both illegally in the U.S., he allegedly took one of them to his patrol vehicle and told the other to park her car nearby. He ordered the other woman not to move until he came back with her friend, according to investigators.
The sexual assault victim reported that the agent then drove her to the 500 block of Las Milpas Road, forced himself on her and then returned her to the friend.
A rape kit performed on the woman hours later came back positive for signs of sexual abuse, authorities said.
After a preliminary investigation, Pharr police handed the case over to the FBI, which handles most investigations into federal agents. But a local bureau spokesman could not confirm his organization’s involvement as of late Monday.
These latest allegations are not the first time an illegal immigrant has lodged sexual assault claims against an on-duty Border Patrol agent.
In April, a jury convicted former agent Scott Anthony Sullivan of violating a 27-year-old woman’s civil rights by pulling her over at the Falfurrias checkpoint in 2003, confiscating her birth certificate and then raping her several times at a nearby hotel. He is set to be sentenced on Thursday.
Border Patrol officials cooperated with the Mexican authorities on that case after evidence seemed to substantiate the woman’s claims, consular spokeswoman Miriam Medel said.
“They were very helpful in that investigation,” she said. “They assumed responsibility then.
“If this (case) turns out to be true, we’re hopeful they will help us again.”