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Guatemalan migrant arrested in El Paso following alleged sexual assault

Francisco Maldonado Tojin

Francisco Maldonado Tojin, 23, who is from Guatemala, was arrested Tuesday morning by El Paso police.

Tojin was charged with burglary of a habitation with intention of committing a sex offense.

El Paso police responded to reports of a sexual assault and found a Guatemalan woman clutching her 1-year-old child inside a room at the Budget Inn Motel at 5634 Paisano Drive in central El Paso.

“What happened yesterday is beyond tragic. It is beyond tragic that someone is assaulted,” Annunciation House Director Ruben Garcia said.

The investigation revealed that she and her child had been placed at the motel by the Annunciation House. The Annunciation House is an organization that helps migrants, the homeless and economically vulnerable peoples of the border region through hospitality, advocacy and education, according to their website.

Police said the woman was bathing her child when she saw Tojin, whom she doesn’t know, in the room. Police said the door had been left unlocked so that volunteer workers could freely walk in and out of the room.

“This didn’t happen in the middle of the night. This happened at 9 in the morning,” Garcia said.

Tojin was allegedly told to leave, but he surprised the victim by groping her under her clothing and pressing himself against her in a lewd manner. As volunteers responded to the woman’s screams, Tojin ran out of the room, police said.

They said he was found in his motel room, where he, too, had been placed by Annunciation House, along with his 6-year-old son.

Garcia said this incident should not be used to characterize the entire migrant community.

“For the past five years, somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 that have stayed with us at all of the different sites, we have never had to call the police for any kind of reason,” Garcia said.

Tojin is accused of not identifying himself to police, said Sgt. Enrique Carrillo.

He later identified himself when he was placed in U.S. Border Patrol custody, said Carrillo.

Authorities said his son was also placed in Border Patrol custody.

Jail records show that Tojin's bond was set at $30,000 and that he remains at the El Paso County Detention Center.

During the Christmas holiday, hundreds of processed immigrants were dropped off unexpectedly in downtown El Paso.

Annunciation House is one of the organizations that is providing aid to them.

Garcia said that in the future, they will host orientations for arriving groups of migrants who are brought to the shelter.

“To remind them that we’re there, that if anything inappropriate (happens), anything that makes them feel uncomfortable, to make sure to come to us,” Garcia said.

Garcia said the victimized woman is no longer in El Paso.

Garcia said they haven't had to call police for any situation since the surge of migrants since 2014.

The Annunciation House who placed the Guatemalan man accused of sexual assault at an El Paso motel gave a press conference about Francisco Maldonado Tojin’s recent arrest.

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