An undocumented Honduran immigrant living in Connecticut is suing several federal agencies, alleging that she was sexually assaulted multiple times by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.
The woman identified as Jane Doe in a lawsuit filed on Oct. 19 accuses ICE agent Wilfredo Rodriguez of first raping her in 2007 and then continuing to abuse her for seven more years.
Rodriguez and the plaintiff allegedly met in 2006, shortly after her brother was detained for entering the country illegally. Doe said the agent found out she had entered the country illegally and had a deportation order pending.
That’s when Rodriguez allegedly began using her immigration status against her.
The plaintiff said she was told she wouldn’t be arrested as long as she worked with the agency to identify other undocumented immigrants.
“The officers [Rodriguez and another agent present at an ICE office] then promised Plaintiff that if she gave them information about those individuals, no actions would be taken against Plaintiff regarding her immigration status and instead she would be allowed to stay in the United States with her children,” reads the complaint.
The lawsuit alleges that Rodriguez eventually wanted to meet the plaintiff away from ICE offices. Doe said she was invited to a Hartford-area motel in January 2007 and was told that Rodriguez had a picture to show her of “someone he wanted Plaintiff to locate.”
When they met, the defendant allegedly told the plaintiff that she had to have sex with him. But Doe said she was married and then refused the advances.
“Defendant Rodriguez covered Plaintiff’s mouth and threw her down on the bed,” reads the complaint. “Defendant Rodriguez put his gun next to Plaintiff and told Plaintiff he would use it if she opened her mouth.”
According to the lawsuit, the defendant then raped her for the first time.
“My client had a choice, cooperate with ICE or be deported with her family,” George Kramer, the plaintiff’s attorney, said in a written statement sent to Connecticut Public Radio.
Doe asserts that the sexual assaults continued for seven years.
“She remains in a very fragile psychological state,” Kramer said. “She is not only seeking compensation for the physical and emotional damage she suffered but to change the way those who are cooperating with ICE are treated by those in a position of power and who often wield total control over the ability to remain in the United States.”
Doe is seeking $10 million as part of the lawsuit. She said that in addition to enduring repeated sexual assaults (sometimes as often as three or four times a week, according to the complaint), she allegedly had three abortions as a result of the defendant’s assaults and she tried to kill herself four times.
The plaintiff also said that one phone call with the defendant in the fall of 2014 left her so shaken that she fell off a ladder at work on a construction site, suffering injuries to her neck, back, scapula, and ribs.
Connecticut Public Radio’s attempts to reach Rodriguez for comment have been unsuccessful. The court record lists no attorney on his behalf.
According to ICE, Rodriguez no longer works for the agency. Both an ICE spokesperson and the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE, declined to comment.