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Project Censored’s Top 10 stories the mainstream media missed in 2019

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Page 8 of 11

7. Flawed investigations of sexual assaults in children's immigrant shelters

'Over the past six months, ProPublica has gathered hundreds of police reports detailing allegations of sexual assaults in immigrant children's shelters," ProPublica reported in November 2018. "[The shelters] have received $4.5 billion for housing and other services since the surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America in 2014 [and the reports reveal that] both staff and other residents sometimes acted as predators."

"Again and again, the reports show, the police were quickly — and with little investigation — closing the cases, often within days, or even hours," ProPublica stated.

In the case of Alex (a 13-year-old from Honduras) used to highlight systemic problems, the police investigation lasted 72 minutes, and resulted in a three-sentence report. There was surveillance video showing two older teenagers grabbing him, throwing him to the floor and dragging him into a bedroom. But ProPublica reported, "An examination of Alex's case shows that almost every agency charged with helping Alex — with finding out the full extent of what happened in that room — had instead failed him."

"Because immigrant children in detention are frequently moved, even when an investigator wanted to pursue a case, the child could be moved out of the investigating agency's jurisdiction in just a few weeks, often without warning," Project Censored noted. "When children are released, parents or relatives may be reluctant to seek justice, avoiding contact with law enforcement because they are undocumented or living with someone who is."