A 10-year-old Guatemalan boy was forced to take psychotropic drugs and was sexually assaulted while in border custody, his father claimed in a lawsuit.
Last week, CNN reports that the boy’s father, identified as J.E.B., filed a lawsuit in Texas alleging that shelters Southwest Key and Shiloh Treatment Center “acted with fraud, malice and gross neglect” toward his son, identified as F.C.B. He also claims that his son was misdiagnosed while he was in custody at the second shelter, where he was held for nearly a year, and that he was “dosed with powerful psychotropic drugs without parental consent” and sexually assaulted by another child. (The boy and his father were forcibly separated in February 2018.)
After the boy reported the assault, he was swiftly deported, per the lawsuit.
In response to the filing, Southwest Key argued in a statement that it was against the Trump administration’s policy of ripping apart migrant parents and children, saying, “It was a policy that hurt children, parents and our communities.” It also stressed that the most serious allegations — notably, the sexual assault — did not occur at the detention center.
While disturbing, the boy’s experience wasn’t unique. Between 2014 and 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice received a whopping 5,800 complaints of sexual abuse from unaccompanied minors — a number that Democratic representative Ted Deutch of Florida called “deeply [concerning].”
Per the lawsuit, the family seeks damages for the emotional distress and medical expenses that the family has reportedly suffered.