Deputy sexually assaulted young girl, threatened to deport mom: cops

Jose Nunez in undated

Jose Nunez in undated

A Texas sheriff's deputy is arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting the child of an undocumented mother.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar says 47-year-old Jose Nunez was arrested Sunday on a warrant for super aggravated sexual assault - a charge applied when the victim is less than six years old.

"The details of the case are quite frankly heartbreaking, disturbing, disgusting and infuriating all at the same time", Salazar told a news conference.

The Bexar police department is "not afraid to do the right thing", Salazar said, adding that his "objective" is to remove Nunez from the force.

Police believe Nunez may have abused the girl over several months, possibly up to two years.

Salazar said the victim's mother is an undocumented immigrant and Nunez used that advantage to keep the mother from reporting the crime. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 25 years in prison, according to Salazar.

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He said that his department is "filling out paperwork" to ensure that the mother is treated as a witness, and given "protected status pending the outcome of this case", which would allow her to remain in the US.

Super aggravated sexual assault of a child happens if the victim is under age 6, or if the victim is under age 14 and there are certain other factors, such as serious bodily injury or the presence of a deadly weapon. "If you break the law, you're going to jail", he said.

The arrest of the undocumented has come under scrutiny after a growing number of parents and their children are being separated at the border as part of the Trump administration's illegal immigration enforcement strategy.

Given the nature of the crime, Sheriff Salazar urges undocumented immigrant victims to speak up regardless of their status.

The law provides an exception to the prohibition only in cases where the inquiry is necessary in order to investigate the offense, as in crimes of human smuggling and extortion, or if the inquiry is made in order to "provide the victim or witness with information about federal visas created to protect individuals providing assistance to law enforcement".

The accused officer, Jose Nunez, is a sheriff's deputy who worked in the jail system in Bexar County, about 150 miles (240km) from the US-Mexico border. The sheriff also added that Nunez has "familial ties" to the woman and her daughter.

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