Federal authorities allege that a former youth care worker at a Phoenix-area facility for immigrant youths sexually abused eight teenage boys, one of several cases brought to light in recent weeks as thousands of immigrant children remain detained around the country. Court documents show Levian Pacheco faces several charges stemming from incidents that allegedly took place between August 2016 and July 2017 at a Southwest Key facility in Mesa.
The case was first reported by ProPublica. Authorities charge that Pacheco performed sex acts on two boys and touched six others, all between ages 15 to 17 at the time.
“One of the boys decided to speak up about what had happened to him, and then it was kind of a snowfall where another boy — the roommate — spoke up that it also happened to him,” Michael Grabell, one of the ProPublica reporters who uncovered the details of abuse at the Southwest Key shelter, told CBS News.
Court documents also state that Pacheco is HIV-positive and that some of the teens opted to be tested for the virus.
Pacheco has pleaded not guilty and denied the allegations. His federal public defender has said in court documents that the government’s allegations of the crimes committed by Pacheco include an “extraordinarily broad range of dates and lack of specificity.”