January 23, 2006

Border agent charged in immigrant sex assaults

MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) - A U.S. Border Patrol agent
has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a mother
and her 15-year-old daughter after they crossed illegally into
Texas from Mexico, the FBI said on Monday.

Police arrested patrol agent Pablo Rosario, 31, in El Paso,
Texas, on Friday. He faces two counts of sexual assault in the
March 2004 attack and two charges of making false statements.

FBI spokeswoman Andrea Simmons was unable to confirm the
nationalities of the two victims. She said one charge accuses
him of lying about the sexual assault of a Honduran woman who
had crossed into New Mexico in October 2004.

Simmons did not say why Rosario was not arrested earlier or
why he did not face an assault charge in the latter attack.

Doug Mosier, a spokesman for the Border Patrol in El Paso,
said Rosario had been suspended without pay pending the
investigation. He said the patrol had initiated the police
inquiry and had cooperated fully with the FBI.

Each year an unknown number of illegal immigrants cross the
2,000-mile (3,200-km) border from Mexico, looking for a better
life in the United States. In 2005, the Border Patrol caught
almost 1.2 million of them making the journey.

In a case that has heightened tensions along the border,
U.S. prosecutors are investigating the killing of a teenage
Mexican immigrant south of San Diego, who was shot dead by a
Border Patrol agent after he crossed illegally from Tijuana in