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An armed security guard at a Department of Homeland Security building in New York City has been accused of sexually assaulting an asylum seeker.
Prosecutors said on Monday that Jimmy Solano-Arias, 42, forced the migrant to perform oral sex on him on May 4 at the Jacob K. Javits building at Federal Plaza in Manhattan.
The asylum seeker, a man whose name and age have not been released, was allegedly sexually assaulted after Solano-Arias ordered him into a locked room within the United States Tax Court Offices.
There are several government offices in the Jacob K. Javits building, including the FBI and Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Solano-Arias, from the Bronx, is accused of approaching the victim while he was waiting in line at the building to file an application for asylum.
A guard is accused of raping an asylum seeker in the the Jacob K. Javits building, which hosts several federal offices including the FBI and Citizenship and Immigration Services
An estimated 70,000 migrants have arrived in New York City over the last year. Hundreds are seen lining outside the Jacob K. Javits building
The guard spoke in Spanish to the migrant, who did not speak English, and asked him why he was there and if he had any family with him, according to investigators.
Solano-Arias then told the man he could help him with his paperwork, and took him to an office on the 12th floor, where he waited.
As the man tried to leave after waiting and receiving no help, he encountered Solano-Arias on the way to the elevators, and the guard asked him if he needed any more assistance, per the criminal complaint.
When the asylum seeker said yes, Solano-Arias allegedly took him to the second floor, where he used a key to unlock an office within the U.S. Tax Court Offices, and directed him inside, where Solano-Arias ordered him to perform oral sex on him.
The victim said he tried to refuse, but became afraid for his life after noticing the guard’s hand on his gun.
After the assault, Solano-Arias asked the victim to wait until the hallway was clear until leaving the office, and the migrant managed to get a video recording of the guard on his cellphone, according to police.
When another guard noticed them and asked the asylum seeker what he was doing on that floor, Solano-Arias proceeded to scold the victim for being in the area of the building he had led him to, per the complaint.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said Jimmy Solano-Arias used to take advantage of a vulnerable individual
Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the guard ‘was tasked with keeping the many federal employees and visitors to 26 Federal Plaza safe, [but] instead used his uniform and firearm to force a vulnerable individual who was seeking asylum to perform oral sex on him.’
Solano-Arias was arrested and fired a day after the alleged sexual assault when the victim reported him. He was employed by a company that provided security to the federal building.
In a video-recorded interview, he reportedly admitted that the migrant performed oral sex on him but claimed it was consensual.
He is charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, involving kidnapping and aggravated sexual abuse, meaning he acted outside the law while purporting or pretending to act in the performance of his official duties.
The charge carries a potential penalty of a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The allegations against Solano-Arias come as New York City continues to struggle with an influx of migrants, mostly from South America.
An estimated 70,000 migrants have arrived in New York City over the last year, as Republican governors around the country like Florida’s Ron DeSantis have sent buses packed with asylum seekers.
On Monday, mayor Eric Adams announced that mosques, churches, and other houses of worship would be helping in the city’s efforts to provide shelter to migrants.
Adams said when the church-based program is fully operational, they hope to be able to host up to 1,000 asylum seekers at a time.