Shelter Worker Sentenced To 19-Years For Sexually Abusing Migrant Children

Screengrab/ABC15 Arizona/YouTube

Levian Pacheco received an increased sentence because he exposed his victims to HIV, the judge said.

Levian Pacheco, the worker at an Arizona shelter for migrant youth convicted last year on seven counts of abusive sexual contact with a ward and three counts of sexual abuse of a ward, will spend 19 years in prison, according to CNN.

The 25-year-old youth care worker abused teenage boys between August 2016 and July 2017 at Southwest Key's Casa Kokopelli facility in Mesa, as indicated in court records.

The seven boys he was convicted of abusing, some on multiple occasions, were between 15 and 17, according to court documents. They were being held in detention pending possible deportation, and Pacheco, a youth care worker, supervised the minors, the Justice Department said.

After Pacheco serves his 19 years in prison, he will be subject to supervised release for life, CNN reported.

U.S. District Judge Steven P. Logan increased Pacheco's sentence because he exposed the victims to the HIV virus, officials said.

Following Pacheco’s arrest last year, Southwest Key defended its handling of the situation, saying it “acted immediately” as soon as it learned of potential wrongdoing.

"We are grieved that abuse occurred in one of our shelters and, with the victims, take comfort in justice having been served. As an organization, we believe in transparency,Testimony at trial clearly showed that when we learned of possible abuse, we acted immediately by calling law enforcement and suspending the individual involved," the statement said.

"We then worked closely with law enforcement and the US Attorney's office throughout the investigation and the trial and will continue to do so as this case proceeds to sentencing. We continue to make the safety of the children our highest priority."

Read more.