Employee at migrant children's shelter accused of sexually abusing girl

An employee at an Arizona facility for migrant children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border is behind bars after being accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl.

The employee, Fernando Magaz Negrete, 32, was arrested on Tuesday after another child reported witnessing the abuse in a bedroom at a Southwest Key facility in Phoenix late last month, according to an arrest report.

The facility, on West Campbell Avenue, appears to be one that first lady Melania Trump toured in June.

Fernando Magaz Negrete, 32, was arrested on July 31 after being accused of sexually abusing a child at a Southwest Key migrant facility in Phoenix.
Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

When questioned by Phoenix police, Negrete, who faces charges of child molestation, sexual abuse and aggravated assault, reportedly admitted to inappropriately touching the child. Surveillance video captured him approaching the girl’s bedroom several times from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on June 27, according to court documents obtained by local news site AZ Family.

Negrete is listed as a care worker in the arrest report. It does not say how long he has been employed at the children’s facility.

Southwest Key is a nonprofit private organization that provides youth services and runs immigrant children’s shelters under contract with the Department of Health and Human Services. Representatives for the facility and HHS did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

Organization spokesman Jeff Eller, in a statement obtained by AZ Family, said Southwest Key takes allegations of abuse seriously.

“When a child tells us of inappropriate behavior, we immediately call law enforcement and start an internal investigation as appropriate. That’s what happened in this case. Southwest Key always works with law enforcement to bring the full force of the law to bear when it is warranted,” he said.

It is the latest in a number of allegations of physical or sexual abuse at Southwest Key facilities.

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Inside a migrant shelter on the US-Mexico border
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Inside a migrant shelter on the US-Mexico border
Migrant Jeber Hernandez, 14, from El Salvador, who hopes to make it to Los Angeles, stands in the chapel at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Migrants eat dinner at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Gilda Loureiro, who runs the Juan Bosco migrant shelter, cooks meals for migrants, in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Migrants eat dinner at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
The bag of a seven-year-old Honduran migrant, whose family members fear for their lives, is seen at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter where they are staying before attempting to cross the border to the U.S., in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Haitian migrant Volter Petiblen, 24, (R) reads his phone at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Mexican migrant Sergio Medrano, 30, sits in the chapel at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter after being deported from the U.S., in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Mexican migrant Jose Angel Garcia, 42, holds a crucifix he made as he waits at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter after being deported from the U.S. following two years in an immigration detention center, in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Gilda Loureiro, who runs the Juan Bosco migrant shelter, stands in one of the shelter's dormitories, in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A migrant talks to his family at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017 REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Migrant Jever Danilo, 14, from El Salvador, who hopes to make it to Los Angeles, stands in the chapel at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Migrants arrive at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter after being deported from the U.S., in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Rosary beads left by migrants are seen in the chapel at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017 REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Haitian migrant Volter Petiblen, 24, looks out at Nogalas from the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Mexican migrant Jose Angel Garcia, 42, shows a photo of his mother as he waits at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter after being deported from the U.S. following two years in an immigration detention center, in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017 REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Mexican migrant Jaime Manuel Perez Mancinas, 31, holds the hand of a three-year-old Honduran refugee as he waits at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter after being deported from the U.S. following two years in an immigration detention center, in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Religious keepsakes left by migrants are seen in the chapel at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Haitian migrant Volter Petiblen, 24, (R) waits for dinner at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
The Juan Bosco migrant shelter is seen in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Religious keepsakes left by migrants are seen in the chapel at the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017 REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Haitian migrant Volter Petiblen, 24, reads his phone at a the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), in a letter to HHS’s inspector general on Wednesday, requested an immediate investigation into reports of abuse at the organization’s immigrant detention facilities, noting “this is not the first report of inappropriate sexual conduct at Southwest Key’s Arizona facilities.” 

His letter mentioned the alleged physical and sexual abuse of a 6-year-old girl at a facility operated by Southwest Key in Glendale, just outside Phoenix, reported last month; a 15-year-old boy’s claims that he was harassed and threatened by a roommate at a facility in Tucson; sexual harassment reported in 2017 also in Tucson; and a molestation in 2015.

Eller told The Arizona Republic last month that the episode involving the 6-year-old was mislabeled “sexual abuse” and that it should have been called “inappropriate behavior.”

According to Southwest Key’s website, the organization operates programs in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, New York, Texas and Wisconsin. Only two of those programs, in Arizona and Texas, are specifically for unaccompanied minors.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

RELATED: First lady Melania Trump visits Border Patrol center : 

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Melania Trump arrives in Tucson, Arizona to visit Border Patrol center
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Melania Trump arrives in Tucson, Arizona to visit Border Patrol center
First lady Melania Trump boards her plane for travel to Tucson, AZ, from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
First lady Melania Trump boards her plane for travel to Tucson, AZ, from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
First lady Melania Trump is greeted on her way to her plane for travel to Tucson, AZ, from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
First lady Melania Trump boards her plane for travel to Tucson, AZ, from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrives from Washington at Tuscon's Davis Monthan Air Force Base to tour immigration detention facilities in Tucson, Arizona, U.S. June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
US First Lady Melania Trump steps off a plane upon arrival at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona on June 28, 2018, and will be visiting migrant facilities in the area. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump steps off a plane upon arrival at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona on June 28, 2018, and will be visiting migrant facilities in the area. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump steps off a plane upon arrival at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona on June 28, 2018, and will be visiting migrant facilities in the area. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump steps off a plane upon arrival at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona on June 28, 2018, and will be visiting migrant facilities in the area. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrives to tour immigration facilities in Tucson, Arizona, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
US First Lady Melania Trump arrives for a visit to a US Customs and Border Protection Facility in Tucson, Arizona on June 28, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump takes part in a round-table discussion during a visit to a US Customs and Border Protection Facility in Tucson, Arizona on June 28, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. first lady Melania Trump listens to federal immigration and law enforcement officials during a roundtable discussion as she visits a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility in Tucson, Arizona, U.S. June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
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