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'Numerous' women allege sexual abuse at Texas immigrant holding facility

Calling for an immediate investigation, lawyers wrote a letter to federal officials this week alleging numerous instances of sexual abuse against women being held at the Karnes County Residential Center, in Texas, CNN reports.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Department of Homeland Security hired for-profit prison company Geo Group Inc., which runs the immigrant holding facility. A spokesman for Geo Group denied any wrongdoing by workers at the facility, saying they provide "a safe, clean, and family-friendly environment for mothers and children awaiting required processing by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency."

But CNN reports that the facility, which can hold up to 532 detainees, has allegedly been the site of multiple instances of sexual abuse since August. Lawyers for women being held there say at least three employees at the center have committed acts of sexual abuse, such as removing female detainees from their cells at night to engage in sexual acts, requesting sexual favors in exchange for the promise of money, or assistance with pending immigration cases, and fondling, groping, and kissing the women in front of other detainees, including children.

The letter also alleges that the women reported the abuses to the facility's personnel, but that "to date, no action has been taken to stop or prevent this abuse."