Saturday, August 21, 2010

News 8 Austin: T Don Hutto employee fired after alleged sexual abuse

A transport officer at the T. Don Hutto residential facility in Taylor was fired after confessing to inappropriately touching inmates after they were released.
Donald Dunn was in charge of taking former detainees to a destination of their choice after they were released from custody.

One woman was taken to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and told an ABIA employee about the inappropriate behavior. The woman’s outcry was enough to get the investigation started.

All of the victims were females previously held by the federal government concerning their immigration status.

Sgt. John Foster is a Williamson County Deputy Sheriff that also serves as a monitor for the T. Don Hutto Residential Center. Foster had strong words for Dunn Friday.

"They deserve to come into this country and not be assaulted, he didn't give that to them," he said.

According to authorities, Dunn was responsible for the transport of 72 detainees while employed at the federal facility. Officials attempted to interview all of those he had transported during his time as an officer. Forty-two detainees were questioned, 30 women could not be found.

Sgt. Foster said the investigation went coast to coast in an attempt to locate potential victims.

Lisa Graybill is the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

"I believe many of these women are asylum seekers, so that means they fled persecution, violence, possible sexual violence in their home countries,” she said. "Only to come to this country and have this happen to them."

Word of the Hutto facility investigation reached Washington D.C., and officials in the case tell News 8 that President Obama was briefed regarding all of the charges against Dunn.

Dunn has been charged with three counts of official oppression and two counts of unlawful restraint. If convicted, he faces up to one year in jail.