Astoria, OR – ICE says that a twice previously-deported illegal immigrant raped a little girl, and then was released by the police department before immigration officials had an opportunity to take him into custody.
Authorities said Anastacio Eugenio Lopez-Fabian had been deported back to Guatemala by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on two occasions before he came back again, and got arrested for having sex with an underage girl.
Lopez-Fabian, 24, was arrested by the Seaside Police Department on Feb. 16 after an investigation determined he’d had sex several times with a girl under the age of 14, according to The Daily Astorian.
He was charged with harassment, fourth degree assault, two counts of second-degree rape, and three counts of third-degree rape.
But despite the heinous new charges, Lopez-Fabian was able to post bail of $25,000 and be released the same day he was arrested.
ICE spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell said the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office did not alert immigration officials to his most recent arrest.
“Hours after his release, ICE deportation officers received information from federal databases about his prior immigration history and his most recent arrest. From there, they conducted an online review of jail and court records and determined that Lopez-Fabian did not have lawful status in the country, and subsequently, targeted him for immigration enforcement.” Cutrell said in an emailed statement to The Daily Astorian.
“ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security,” she said.
ICE was eventually able to locate Lopez-Fabian in a courthouse parking lot on March 7 as he arrived for a hearing. He is being held in a detention center in Tacoma, Washington.
Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin said his office hadn’t had enough time to notify immigration authorities, and that ICE hadn’t notified them of placing a hold on the man.
“He posted bail, so there’s not much we can do unless ICE notifies us, which it didn’t,” Sheriff Bergin said.
The sheriff put the blame squarely on the federal agency.
“ICE puts out a blanket statement every time they do these things because they want to cover their butts. Believe me, we want to hold these guys,” he told The Daily Astorian.
Sheriff Bergin said he’s trying to avoid the same problems that nearby Clackamas County had when they were sued for detaining a woman for ICE when there was no judicial warrant, only an administrative request, according to KATU-TV.
"We're not going to open up the [Clatsop] County to a one or two million dollar lawsuit," Sheriff Bergin told. "That is not fair for our taxpayers."
The sheriff told KATU that if ICE presented a warrant signed by a judge, Clatsop County would comply with the warrant.
"If they would change their procedure and do things judicially, instead of administrative, then we would be able to help them immensely," Sheriff Bergin said.
U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici, a Democrat from Oregon, has proposed legislation that would stop immigration arrests at courthouses, schools and clinics.
Her rationale was that arresting immigrants at those facilities discourages immigrants from appearing in court as a witness or defendant, the Daily Astorian reported.
But Sheriff Bergin doesn’t see a problem with where arrests are made.
“I don’t have a problem with it. We’re worried about the actual criminals that are causing problems and doing harm to our citizens,” he told The Daily Astorian. “If they’re a wanted criminal, they’re not going to show up anyway. I don’t think it affects it one way or another.”