A Bexar County, Texas, sheriff’s deputy is being accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl while threatening the girl’s mother with deportation in order to get her to stay quiet about the abuse, authorities revealed Sunday.
Jose Nunez, who has worked with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department for 10 years, was arrested early Sunday, the Dallas Morning News reports. The 47-year-old is facing a felony charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Sheriff Javier Salazar revealed the case at a news conference over the weekend. Salazar said it is believed that the child was assaulted multiple times over several months.
The girl’s mother is an undocumented immigrant, and Nunez threatened the woman, saying that she would be deported if she reported the attacks, authorities said.
However, on Sunday, the girl “made an outcry” to her mother, prompting the mother to take her to the Fire Department and file a report.
“The details of the case are, quite frankly, heartbreaking, disturbing, disgusting and infuriating all at the same time,” the sheriff said. “The little girl now is safe, and we’re continuing to process the case.”
Indeed, it is heartbreaking, disturbing, disgusting and infuriating, especially as the news cycle continues to light up with stories about immigrant families being separated at the border as thousands of immigrant children somehow get “lost” and go missing in between all of this.
It is infuriating that immigrants already living in the U.S. cannot drop their children off to school or deliver pizzas without being detained and threatened with deportation.
The “zero tolerance” implementation of immigration laws is effectively stripping immigrant people of the tools they need to advocate for themselves, which is what alleged abusers like Nunez are counting on.
The Sheriff’s Office is finishing up paperwork that will give the mother some sort of protected status during the criminal investigation, according to the report. The department will also be conducting an internal investigation.
Authorities say they believe that Nunez may have had more victims, and are asking that anyone with information contact the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.