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A Honduran woman says an ICE officer raped her for seven years, sometimes as often as four times a week, and threatened to deport her if she told anyone what was happening. Over the course of the alleged abuse, she says she also got pregnant three times.
The officer, who has not been employed by ICE for “several years,” according to a spokesperson, recruited the woman as an informant after discovering she was undocumented. Now, the woman has sued ICE, the Department of Homeland Security, and the former ICE officer, Wilfredo Rodriguez, and wants $10 million in damages. The suit also alleges the agency’s culture allowed the abuse to happen and that ICE agents are allowed to “intimidate and abuse undocumented individuals.”
After arresting her brother in 2006, Rodriguez discovered the woman had an outstanding deportation order and said he would help her if she agreed to act as an informant. She tipped him off to three Honduran men who had previously stabbed her husband, and in January 2007, he called the woman and told her to meet him at a motel off the highway.
He said he wanted to show her a picture of someone he needed her to find, according to the lawsuit. Instead, she says, he raped her and threatened her with his gun if she said anything.
From that point on, Rodriguez raped the woman several times a week, according to the lawsuit. He allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on him and would “force [her] to endure and participate in abhorrent sexual behavior,” all while threatening to deport her or hurt her family if she said anything.
The woman says the alleged abuse continued for seven years and that she got pregnant three times as a result of being raped by Rodriguez: in 2008, 2009, and 2013. She terminated each pregnancy.
Sometime between 2009 and 2010, Rodriguez’s superiors became suspicious of his treatment of informants, according to the lawsuit. At one point, the woman was called in to the ICE office in Connecticut, where she says another agent told her she wasn’t allowed to have any contact with officers outside the office or outside of regular business hours. Despite that, Rodriguez kept contacting her, according to the suit.
In 2014, Rodriguez called her while she was at work, which she says made her so stressed that she fell off a ladder and hurt her neck, back, ribs, and shoulders. She had to get surgery and used her recovery as an excuse not to see him.
The woman didn’t tell anyone what happened to her until 2018, when her father fled Honduras and applied for asylum, claiming his daughter’s work as an informant had put his life in danger there. When ICE agents asked her about her work with Rodriguez, she told them everything, according to the suit.
Cover image: (romkaz/iStock / Getty Images Plus)