On July 10, US District Judge William Dimitrouleas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., sentenced former ICE agent Wilfredo Vazquez to 87 months in prison for sexually assaulting a female immigration detainee in his custody. Vazquez pleaded guilty in April to two counts of sexual abuse; he admitted that in September 2007, while transporting the Jamaican detainee to a Broward County holding facility, he first took her to his home and forced her to submit to sex. (See INB, Nov. 26, 2007). The woman’s identity has not been revealed; she is identified in court papers as “M.C.”
The prison term had been agreed to by both sides as part of the plea agreement. Dimitrouleas called the incident a “horrific crime” that sent a terrible message to other people in US government custody; the judge noted that if the case had gone to trial, Vazquez would almost certainly have been convicted based on “overwhelming” evidence and would have faced a far more severe punishment. According to prosecutor Daniel Rashbaum, M.C. had agreed to the plea terms—knowing the likely sentence her assailant would face—because it meant she would not have to testify at trial. M.C. did not attend the hearing, but in a letter to Dimitrouleaus, she said Vazquez had “single-handedly destroyed” her life and asked the judge to impose the “maximum sentence,” which would have been life in prison. (South Florida Sun Sentinel, July 11)
From Immigration News Briefs, July 13
See our last post on the politics of immigration.