Bexar County, TX – A Bexar County corrections deputy has been arrested on accusations that he repeatedly sexually assaulted a four-year-old girl and threatened her mother – an illegal alien – with deportation if she told police about the abuse.
Jose Nunez, 47, was taken into custody early Sunday morning, NBC News reported.
"The details of the case are quite frankly heartbreaking, disturbing, disgusting and infuriating all at the same time," Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said during a press conference following the deputy’s arrest.
The investigation began after the young girl, who had been suffering physical pain, “made an outcry,” Sheriff Salazar explained.
The girl’s mother, who is from Guatemala, took the child to a local fire station looking for help, the Independent reported.
“The mother of this little girl is an undocumented immigrant,” the sheriff said. “My understanding is that this suspect utilized that to his advantage to place the mother in fear that she would be deported if she did report it.”
Investigators said that the abuse likely took place over the course of months or years, and that Corrections Deputy Nunez may have additional victims.
"I don't know that he was purposely targeting the undocumented community," Sheriff Salazar said, according to NBC News. "Certainly, what was appealing was the vulnerability of that community because they are less apt to report things."
The corrections deputy was believed to be related to the child, but police did not provide details regarding the nature of their relationship.
Corrections Deputy Nunez, who has been with the department for a decade, has been placed on paid leave for a period of 10 days, Sheriff Salazar said, according to the New York Daily News.
After the paid suspension, he will be placed on unpaid leave, the sheriff noted.
“To be honest, my objective is to separate this person from the agency as soon as possible,” Sheriff Salazar added. “When one person or persons demonstrate that they are not worthy to be part of this agency, then we are, quite frankly, going to get them out of here, cut them out like a cancer. That’s what’s going to happen in this case.”
Corrections Deputy Nunez was charged with super aggravated sexual assault. He faces a minimum of 25 years in prison if convicted.