MESA, Ariz. - 12 News reached out to Arizona lawmakers and asked them what they were doing to hold the federal contractor hired to house migrant children, Southwest Key, accountable following accusations of and investigations into sex crimes of employees against minors.
Congressman Raul Grijalva, who represents southern Arizona, credited local law enforcement agencies for taking on the cases but was outraged the federal government wasn’t doing more.
“They’re exposed to possible abuse because of actions that Homeland Security took,” Grijalva said, adding he was, “asking the Justice Department to investigate, not for Homeland Security to investigate itself and if necessary, begin to pull away the contracts where these violations have occurred.”
12 News obtained documents detailing the federal investigation of Levian Pacheco, an employee at the Mesa facility known as Casa Kokopelli. Pacheco was charged with sex crimes against eight minors at that location dating back to August 2016.
A citation from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) revealed Pacheco’s fingerprint clearance didn’t come through until four months after the facility hired him.
Phoenix police arrested Fernando Magaz Negrete earlier this week. Magaz Negrete was accused of kissing a 14-year-old and touching her vagina at a Southwest Key location in Central Phoenix.
Congressman David Schweikert emailed 12 News the following statement:
Being the father of a two and a half year-old, the types of allegations being reported terrify me down to my bones. There is a special place in hell for those who abuse the most vulnerable.
Representative Ruben Gallego demanded an immediate investigation and tweeted:
Bottom line: the abuse will continue until contract are canceled, companies are fined, officials are fired and offenders go to prison.
Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema emailed:
These allegations are horrifying. I fully support investigations being carried out by Mesa Police and the HHS Inspector General and join Arizonans in demanding answers and swift accountability.
12 News verified at least two lawmakers from Arizona want contracts with Southwest Key to end if nothing is done about the abuse allegations.