A Texas sheriff's deputy on Monday was charged with "super aggravated sexual assault" of a 4-year-old girl after it was found that the child's mother was threatened with deportation if she didn't stay silent about the abuse, according to NBC News.
The report says that Jose Nunez, a detention officer with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, was arrested on Sunday after the mother went to a local fire station requesting assistance.
"The details of the case are quite frankly heartbreaking, disturbing, disgusting and infuriating all at the same time," Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar told the news outlet.
Salazar said Nunez had family ties to the woman and her daughter, but that their relationship is unclear. The sheriff added that the abuse from Nunez likely persisted for months, if not years, and that there may be other victims.
"This suspect utilized to his advantage to place the mother in fear that she would be deported if she did report it," the sheriff said, adding that the "little girl now is safe."
NBC reports that the Bexar County Police Department is petitioning to get the mother protected status pending the outcome of the case. If convicted, the charge Nunez faces carries a minimum sentence of 25 years.
The news comes as the Trump administration faces increasing scrutiny over its "zero tolerance" policy that separates families at the U.S.-Mexico border. The policy, announced in April, resulted in nearly 2,000 children being separated from their parents from mid-April to the end of May, according to The Associated Press.
On Sunday, Democratic lawmakers and members of the media toured a detention facility in McAllen, Texas. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) tweeted that officials told him more than 1,000 children have been separated from their parents in the facility.