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Child Exploitation

A south Texas contract security guard is charged with sexual abuse

HARLINGEN, Texas - A local contract security guard was arrested on Wednesday after an indictment was unsealed charging him with sexually abusing a woman who was detained at the Willacy Detention Center (WDC), a federally contracted detention facility in Raymondville, Texas. The indictment and arrest were announced by the Justice Department in Washington D.C. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) in Harlingen, Texas. WDC is contracted by ICE.

Edwin Rodriguez, 31, of Raymondville, Texas, was charged in a one-count felony indictment for sexually abusing a detainee. The federal grand jury in Brownsville unsealed the indictment following Rodriguez's arrest on June 22. According to court documents, the indictment alleges Rodriguez had sexual intercourse with a female detainee on or about Oct. 26, 2008 while she was being held at WDC pending removal.

On Thursday, Rodriguez appeared before U.S. Magistrate Felix Recio and entered a plea of not guilty. Judge Recio ordered Rodriguez to remain in federal custody without bond pending a detention hearing on June 27.

The indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Rodriguez faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kebharu Smith and Civil Rights Division Criminal Section Trial Attorney Adriana Vieco both from the Justice Department in D.C. are handling the prosecution.