A Venezuelan migrant has been accused of raping a woman in front of a 3-year-old child, authorities announced on Tuesday.
Jesus Guzman-Bermudez is accused of restraining the victim by holding their head down while raping her in a hotel room in Cheektowaga in Erie County, New York, last week. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced that Guzman-Bermudez, 26, was arraigned on Friday on one count of rape in the first degree, one count of unlawful imprisonment in the second degree, one count of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of harassment in the second degree.
He was held without bail and faces a maximum of 25 years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors say the suspect and victim knew each other, and the alleged crime is said to have occurred in front of their 3-year-old child who was also present in the hotel room.
‘It wasn’t like an incident where this individual went out in town, grabbed some victim and took them back to the hotel room. That’s not the case here. They clearly knew one another,’ Flynn told WBEN.
He stressed that it is only the fourth incident among migrants in the county.
‘The first three were petty larceny, so very small crimes, minor offenses. This is obviously much more serious,’ he said. ‘But four out of over 500, obviously, the vast majority over 95% are abiding by the laws and behaving.’
The announcement immediately drew criticism from state Republicans, who have objected to the transport of migrants to their communities as part of New York City’s strategy to cope with what it says is an overwhelming migrant surge.
‘This disgusting individual was brought to Western New York courtesy of failed Democrat ‘sanctuary’ and open border policies which have created chaos across our country, state and now here in Western New York, ‘Senate Republican leader Rob Ortt said in a statement. ‘All while hardworking, tax-paying New Yorkers and Americans continue to foot the bill.’
It marks the latest fallout from the migrant crisis, which has overwhelmed the southern border and caused knock-on effects in states and cities across the country.
New York City has been overwhelmed by the approximately 54,000 migrants it is caring for in its shelter system, some of whom have been bussed there from Texas. The city earlier this year began bussing migrants elsewhere in the state.
On Tuesday, Massachusetts became the latest liberal jurisdiction to declare a state of emergency over the number of migrants, calling for additional funding from the federal government and immigration reform to allow migrants to work.
Meanwhile, Border Patrol agents have documented a number of encounters with sex offenders at the southern border. Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens announced on Tuesday that agents encountered six previously convicted sex offenders at the southern border.
The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, is sending ICE special agents to the border in increasing numbers — while also putting out fresh calls for federal employees to volunteer to aid Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in processing and other tasks.
Fox News’ Maria Paronich contributed to this report.