A six-year-old girl who was separated from her mother under Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance policy was allegedly sexually abused at a detention facility.
The girl, who is only known by the initials DL, then had to sign a form stating she knew it was her ‘responsibility’ to stay away from her abuser.
DL and her mother had been fleeing gang violence in Guatemala when they arrived in El Paso, Texas on May 24.
They presented paperwork to the US Border Patrol showing they had ‘credible fear’ that returning to Guatemala would be dangerous.
A six-year-old girl who was separated from her mother under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy was allegedly sexually abused at a detention facility. Pictured is an underage detention facility in Texas
Two days after they arrived, DL and her mother were separated and the young girl was sent to Casa Glendale, a detention facility outside of Phoenix, Arizona.
It was there that the girl was sexually abused by another boy on June 4, according to The Nation.
Southwest Key Programs, which operates the facility, informed DL’s father of the abuse on June 11.
The girl’s father, who is an undocumented immigrant living in California, was told that a boy had fondled DL and other girls at the facility.
He was then told that Southwest Key Programs was changing some of its protocols and that the abuse would not happen again.
On June 22 DL’s father was contacted again and told that the same boy had hit and sexually abused his daughter a second time.
The girl was sexually abused by another boy at the facility twice. She was made to sign a form stating she knew it was her ‘responsibility’ to stay away from her abuser
When he asked Southwest Key Programs how they could have let the abuse happen again, a woman on the phone said she didn’t have permission to say anything else.
DL was made to sign a a Prison Rape Elimination Act ‘safety plan’ stating that she had been instructed to ‘maintain my distance from other youth involved’.
The form states that she was also provided with ‘psychoeducation’, described as ‘reporting abuse’ and ‘good touch bad touch’.
At the bottom of the form, above DL’s signature, is a statement saying ‘I understand that it’s my responsibility to follow the safety plan’.
Southwest Key Programs has since issued a statement stating that the alleged abuser is a five-year-old boy.
‘He routinely sexually acted out,’ the statement reads. ‘An older child said he touched her and the six-year-old referenced in the story’.
It said the boy was then put on ‘one-on-one constant adult supervision, 24 hours a day’, according to the New York Daily News.
DL’s mother said she was devastated when she found out the news about her daughter.
‘I felt really horrible,’ she told The Nation. ‘I couldn’t do anything for her, because we were separated.’
‘It was a nightmare. When my husband told me what happened, I felt helpless. She was so little, she was probably so scared, probably afraid to say anything to anyone.’
‘It was a total nightmare for me.’
DL has since been reunited with her parents, but her mother said the young girl has changed since her time in the detention facility.
The girl and her mother entered the US to flee gang violence in Guatemala. Pictured are protesters outside an immigration facility in El Paso, Texas
‘I hugged her, I was crying. She didn’t recognize me. She didn’t know I was her mom. She thought I was another social worker,’ she recalled.
‘She told me that she thought I was never going to be with her again and that she was going to have to live with another lady.’
‘She behaved like she was still in detention. She wouldn’t touch me, hug me, kiss me. She behaves like she is programmed.’
DL’s mother said her daughter is scared of being returned to the detention facility.
‘She says, “Please don’t return me to Guatemala, I don’t want to go back to that place where I have to sleep alone with other kids”‘, DL’s mother recalled.
The girl’s father said he is happy to be reunited with his family.
‘When I had my wife and daughter with me, I felt so good,’ he said. ‘I knew that now that I had them at my side, they would be protected. I would be able to protect them again.’
‘I don’t know what to hope for. I don’t know what will happen. But I think that whatever happens will be good, because we are all three together again.’