YUMA, Ariz. - Allegations of sexual assault and retaliation for protests were made by dozens of children held in U.S. Border Patrol custody in Yuma.
NBC News obtained dozens of accounts by these children collected by government case managers.
NBC News said one of the accounts was from a 16-year-old boy from Guatemala. The boy said that he was held in Yuma and that he and others in his cell complained about the taste of the water and food they were given. He also said that the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents took the mats out of their cell in retaliation, forcing them to sleep on the concrete.
NBC News also reported that a 15-year-old girl from Honduras said an officer put his hands inside her bra, pulled down her underwear and groped her as part of what was meant to be a routine check and pat down. She said this happened in front of other immigrants and officers.
Another 17-year-old boy from Honduras said the officers would scold detained children when they would get close to the window and cuss at them in Spanish.
NBC News said that in a statement about the Yuma allegations, a CBP spokesperson said, "U.S. Customs and Border Protection treats those in our custody with dignity and respect and provides multiple avenues to report any allegations of misconduct. ... The allegations do not align with common practice at our facilities and will be fully investigated. It’s important to note that the allegation of sexual assault is already under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General."
The full NBC News report can be read here.