A Honduran woman living in Connecticut has accused a US immigration agent of sexually assaulting her over a period of seven years under the threat of deportation, according to a federal lawsuit.
The woman, identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe, sued the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice), and the former Ice agent Wilfredo Rodriguez on Saturday, seeking $10m in damages.
“My only comment is that my client had a choice: cooperate with Ice or be deported with her family,” said George Kramer, the woman’s lawyer. “She remains in a very fragile psychological state. She is not only seeking compensation for the physical and emotional damage she suffered but to change the way those who are cooperating with Ice are treated by those in a position of power and who often wield total control over the ability to remain in the United States.”
An Ice spokesman told the Associated Press he couldn’t comment on litigation but confirmed Rodriguez no longer works for the agency. Homeland security didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
It was not immediately clear whether Rodriguez had a lawyer to speak for him, and a phone listing for him could not immediately be found, according to the AP.
Tom Carson, a spokesman for the US attorney’s office in Connecticut, told the AP he could not comment on whether there has been or will be a criminal investigation.
The woman first met the Ice agent in 2006 after her brother was arrested for entering the US illegally, according to the lawsuit.
Rodriguez found out she was also living in the country illegally and said that to avoid deportation she would have to become an informant by helping ICE locate criminals. According to the lawsuit she did so, but, in 2007, Rodriguez sexually assaulted her in a motel.
He called himself the “wolf” and said he was the reason she and her family weren’t deported, she says in the lawsuit.
The woman alleges that the assaults continued and resulted in three pregnancies, each followed by abortions, one of which Rodriguez paid for.
Later, he told her that he was leaving the agency but that if she told anyone what happened, “she and her family would pay”, according to the lawsuit.
The woman finally told her story last year when her father, living in the US and fearing deportation because of her friendliness with Ice, applied for asylum. She opened up to an agent who approached her about her father’s application, the lawsuit says.
The agent, she says, suggested she consult an attorney.