A security guard who worked at a federal building in Manhattan has been accused of forcing an asylum seeker to perform oral sex on him, violating the migrant’s constitutional rights, federal prosecutors said on Monday.
On May 4, the guard, Jimmy Solano-Arias, 42, ordered the migrant, a man whose age and name were not released, into a locked room, where he sexually assaulted him, according to a statement released by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.
Mr. Solano-Arias worked for a company that provided security for the Department of Homeland Security at Federal Plaza, according to complaint filed in federal court.
It was there that Mr. Solano-Arias approached the victim, who went to the building to file an application for asylum, said Michael J. Driscoll, the assistant director in charge of the New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in a statement.
Mr. Solano-Arias “was tasked with keeping the many federal employees and visitors to 26 Federal Plaza safe,” said Damian Williams, Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor, in a statement.
Instead, he “used his uniform and firearm to force a vulnerable individual who was seeking asylum to perform oral sex on him,” Mr. Williams said.
Mr. Solano-Arias was charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, involving kidnapping and aggravated sexual abuse. If he is convicted, he would face a maximum sentence of life in prison. His lawyer, Sylvie Jill Levine, did not immediately respond to a message for comment.
The victim is part of a mass migration made up mostly of people from Latin America fleeing poverty and unrest at home. New York officials have said more than 70,000 migrants have arrived since the spring and more than 40,000 are in the city’s care.
On May 4, the victim went to Federal Plaza and was standing in line when Mr. Solano-Arias approached him, according to the complaint. Speaking in Spanish, he asked the victim, who knew little English, why he was there and whether he had any family with him.
The victim said that he was alone, and Mr. Solano-Arias took him to a room on the 12th floor, where the victim waited.
The victim left and on his way to the elevators, Mr. Solano-Arias approached him again and asked him whether he needed more help, according to the complaint. When the victim said yes, Mr. Solano-Arias took him to a different floor and into another room, a locked office within the federal tax court offices. Once inside, he ordered the victim to perform oral sex, according to the complaint.
“The victim attempted to resist Solano-Arias,” the complaint said. Then the victim noticed that the guard had put his hand on his firearm.
When they went back out in the hallway, another guard saw them and asked the victim what he was doing there, according to the complaint. Mr. Solano-Arias then scolded the victim for being in that part of the building.
The victim reported the assault that day. When federal agents questioned Mr. Solano-Arias the next day, he said the encounter was consensual.
Mr. Solano-Arias was arrested and released on a $175,000 personal recognizance bond — a written promise to appear in court as needed.