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An Arizona Detention Worker With HIV Has Been Charged With Molesting Eight Children

southwestkey / Instagram

Migrant children in detention centers have been speaking up about their experiences as they get reunited with their families. There have been stories of abuse and forced labor have caught national attention. One detention center in Mesa, Arizona has become the latest focus as stories of sexual assault are coming to light. First, 32-year-old Fernando Magaz Negrete, an employee at the detention center, was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. Now, Levian Pacheco, a 25-year-old employee at the same facility who is HIV-positive, has been accused of molesting eight teenage boys.

Levian Pacheco, a Southwest Key employee in Mesa, Arizona has been charged with molesting eight children inside a detention center.

According to ProPublica, 25-year-old Pacheco was arraigned for molesting eight children under several charges, but also doing so while being HIV-positive. Pacheco’s crimes took place August 2016 and July 2017 at a Southwest Key facility in Mesa, Arizona. Southwest Key receives funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Pacheco has been charged with 11 sex offenses, and the accusations include forced oral sex.

Court documents show that Pacheco is being accused of performing oral sex “on two of the teenagers and tried to force one of them to penetrate him anally.” The other six teenagers that range between 15 and 17 allege that Pacheco “groped them through their clothing,” ProPublica reports.

Court documents also show that Pacheco was working with children for four months even though Southwest Key had not done a background check on him.

“These are vulnerable children in difficult circumstances, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement at US Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families treats our responsibility for each child with the utmost care,” HHS spokesman Kenneth Wolfe said to ProPublica. “Any allegation of abuse or neglect is taken seriously.”

This is just the latest report of molestations occurring inside Southwest Key centers. There have been several more.

These two cases are not the only ones. Several cases of molestation at detention centers have also been reported.

Recently a 6-year-old child that was separated from her mother was forced to sign a form which reported that she had been molested by another child inside a Southwest Key detention center.


READ: Separated Children Say Life In Detention Centers Included Cleaning Toilets, No Crying, And Daily Threats

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Latino Communities Are Some Of The Most Impacted By Climate Change. Here's One Organization Fighting Back

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Latino Communities Are Some Of The Most Impacted By Climate Change. Here’s One Organization Fighting Back

@GreenLatinos / Twitter

For many U.S. Latinos, environmental outreach and engagement aren’t as accessible compared to others. Yet a recent study shows that Latinos, particularly those who prefer to speak Spanish, really care about our planet. According to a study out of Yale University, a huge percentage of U.S. Latinos have never been contacted by an environmental organization working to reduce global warming or tackle climate change. These findings are startling considering a 2017 poll that showed that Latinos care more and are more aware of environmental issues than African Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Asian Americans, and Caucasians. Various advocacy groups are now targeting Latinos, where often environmental outreach programs have never been accessible.

Philadelphia leading the charge when it comes to engaging the Latino community around environmental issues.

The Philadelphia Office of Sustainability revamped its outreach effort this year by hiring a community strategist to find ways to engage with the Latino community. Christine Knapp, director at the Office of Sustainability, says they needed more community input especially after feedback for its sustainability plan for 2016 showed people wanted to be included in the process.

“We haven’t engaged Latinos, and we haven’t engaged with any community sufficiently well on these issues.” Knapp told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The city is working with several sustainability programs including one to reduce temperatures in Latino neighborhoods.

The program, called The Heat Vulnerability Index, is a new program recently launched to reduce temperatures in neighborhoods of color, which face environmental injustices frequently. Program volunteers ask residents whether they need more trees, know how white roofs can cool structures, or even understand how heat affects health.

The need to engage Latinos around environmental issues prompted Washington-based GreenLatinos to team up with Moms Clean Air Force to create Ecomadres.

GreenLatinos was formed to address local and national environmental issues that affect Latinos, like the heat issues in Philadelphia. Mark Magaña, the CEO and founding president of the GreenLatinos says caring about the environment is instilled in Latinos more than people think.

“Latinos learn their stewardship of the land through their grandmothers and parents,” Magaña told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “They eat all the food on the plate, turn off the light when they leave the room, eat all the parts of the animal, use water wisely because it might not come the next day; things that we do organically, because it’s in the back of the chanclas.”

Ecomadres is a collaborative program that focuses on bringing Latina moms together to advocate for the environment.

Ecomadres wants to address issues of clean air, climate, and toxins affecting the health of Latino children and families. The hope is that by addressing these issues, communities will stand up and advocate environmental issues within their own homes. The organization did a study that showed 68 percent of Latinos live in areas that do not meet federal air quality standards compared to 58 percent of Caucasians. By educating and advocating in communities, they are showing that Latinos can get behind and support environmental organizations.

Ecomadres has chapters established in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas.


READ: Here Are 20 Latinxs Fighting For Environmental Justice

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