SAN ANTONIO -- A Sheriff's deputy in Texas is accused of sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl and intimidating her undocumented mother into believing she would be deported if she reported the abuse, according to the Bexar County Sheriff's Department.
BCSO officials arrested 47-year-old Jose Nunez, a detention deputy who had been with the department for ten years. He is charged with super aggravated sexual assault, a charge applied when the victim is less than six years old.
Sheriff Javier Salazar said the four-year-old victim, who is a relative of Nunez, made an outcry to her mother Saturday night. He said the mother decided to go to a local fire station to report the abuse. Investigators quickly, stepped in and arrested Nunez, who was off-duty, around 3 a.m. Sunday.
"The details of the case are quite frankly, heartbreaking, disturbing, disgusting and infuriating all at the same time," Salazar said.
Salazar said Nunez touched the girl's genitals and caused her pain and "minor injury." Investigators believe the abuse could go back months or possibly years. He said the girl's mother is an undocumented immigrant and the suspect took advantage of the mother's fear of deportation.
"The mother of this little girl is an undocumented immigrant, my understanding is that this suspect utilized that to his advantage to place the mother in fear that she would be deported if she did report it," Salazar said.
Nunez has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. If convicted he could face 25 years in prison. Internal affairs will also be conducting a separate, but concurrent investigation.
Salazar encourages undocumented immigrants to continue to report crimes and said there could be more victims in Nunez's case.
"I would urge anybody that may be undocumented, that is a victim of a crime or witness to a crime, to please come forward and report it," he said. "Just like we're doing in this case, we're filling out paperwork with this witness in question to make sure that she's given protected status pending the outcome of this case."
Salazar said the abuse took place at a residence where the child was living.
"When one person or persons individually demonstrate like they did in this case that they're not worthy to be part of this agency? Then we're going to quite frankly, get them out of here. Cut them out like cancer. And that's what's going to happen in this case," said Salazar.
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