WACO, Texas - The Waco Immigrants Alliance launched a petition calling for an external investigation into sexual assault claims by an immigrant detainee.
Estela Fajardo is currently being held at the McLennan County Jail but the Waco Immigrants Alliance said the alleged sexual assault took place at the Jack Harwell Detention Center.
A press conference for Fajardo was held Monday at the McLennan County Sheriff’s office. The Waco Immigrants Alliance said Fajardo claims a female guard sexually assaulted her.
"She is just pleading for help and justice to be released,” Hope Mustakim with the Waco Immigrants Alliance said. “We are ready for Estella to be released and stop being victimized."
Mustakim said the guard aggressively searched and patted Fajardo down. The McLennan County Sheriff's Department said they launched an investigation in May and determined Fajardo was not assaulted. They said what happened to her was a textbook pat down. McLennan County Chief Deputy David Kilcrease said he will reopen the case and look into allegations of medical irregularities.
"If there's anything else that we can do on it, I will make sure it’s done,” Kilcrease said. “But on the face of this, it's not sexual assault."
The sheriff's department said a letter was sent by an attorney requesting they grant her victim status so she would not be deported.
“If that is the only motivation for this, this is despicable,” Kilcrease said. It’s hard for any victim to come forward to claim they have been victimized.”
According to Fajardo’s immigration attorney, Anali Looper, what the McLennan County Sheriff’s Department is saying is not true.
"Estela didn't even know that the visa could be used to help her in the situation until I met her in April. She made her outcry of sexual assault before that,” Looper said. So, her accusations have nothing to do with her scheming to get legal status. Her legal team is who figured that out."
Fajardo has been in jail for two years for burglary of a habitation and engaging in organized crime. The Waco Immigrants Alliance say she got mixed up in a bad business deal.
"Estella is a very generous woman. A very trusting woman and she was accused of knowingly buying stolen goods," Mustakim said.
The Waco Immigrants Alliance also said that Fajardo is facing illegal re-entry charges, and if she's let out and ICE does not grant her deferred action they'll send her back to Mexico.