A former Southwest Key employee, Fernando Magaz Negrete, made an initial court appearance on August 1, 2018. Magaz Negrete faces felony charges for assault, molestation and sexual abuse.
Magaz Negrete is in the Maricopa County Jail on a $150,000 dollar bond.
Southwest Key operates facilities that shelter and process Unaccompanied Minor Children, who have crossed over the southern border illegally.
Magaz Negrete is suspected of molesting a 14-year-old female illegal immigrant.
According to an AP report, Magaz Negrete “kissed and fondled the girl in her bedroom at the facility on June 27 in an encounter witnessed by the girl’s 16-year-old roommate, police said. They said surveillance video shows Magaz Negrete, 32, approaching the bedroom several times throughout the night, though the bedroom itself was outside the camera’s view.”
In 2015, the Arizona Daily Independent (ADI) reported on repeated claims by Southwest Key employees that the minors in the facilities were largely unprotected from human smugglers and other predators.
Related article: Three Flee Tucson’s Southwest Key Unaccompanied Alien Minor Compound
Southwest Key employees told the ADI that minors, who had been victimized on the journey to the U.S, were victimized in the shelters, and in some case fled the shelters in order to avoid being handed over to human traffickers again.