We’ve heard horror stories of abuse at the hands of immigration officials. Most of those allegations have come from undocumented immigrants. We never expect to hear of sexual assault happening within the confines of an airport. But for Geraldine Rodriguez Olivares, a 31-year-old native of Chile, that is precisely what she claims happened to her in Puerto Rico.
The Miami Herald reported a disturbing account in which Olivares alleges she was raped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. Olivares, a famous dancer in Chile, told the publication that she was working in both the Dominican Republican and Puerto Rico during the early parts of February. On her return trip to Puerto Rico, on February 16, she said she and a friend were held up by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport but were never given a reason as to why they were being delayed. Olivares said one of the agents approached her with a flyer that she was featured on.
“He told me they knew who I was,” Olivares told the publication. “He waved it at me and pointed at my picture, said they monitor my Instagram posts, that they had seen me on TV and heard me on the radio.”
Olivares said that by this point, her friend had been released, but she was still not free to go. The agents continued to hound her about her profession.
She said one of the agents asked: “Didn’t you come to make a show?” “Well, perform it now.” She then claims that agents “began to slap my butt, and they threw money at me. I was so petrified that I peed myself.”
Olivares said that she told them, “If you’re going to rape me, kill me.”
The Miami Herald recounts her terrifying ordeal: “the uniformed officers stripped her, pressed her face against the wall and made her open her legs. One of the men pulled down his pants zipper to put on a condom, while the other put on blue gloves, she said. The man in the gloves patted her bare skin, [Olivares] said and shoved his fingers inside her. When he was finished, the other man raped her from behind.”
Olivares said two men raped her, and another man watched it happen. Olivares woke up and was free to leave. Chile’s consul came to Puerto Rico to take her back home, and there’s currently an open investigation regarding her claims against the agents.
This is by far not the first time women have claimed to have been sexually assaulted by immigration officials. The Miami Herald reports that the U.S. government has paid $60 million in settlements to be paid to sexual assault victims been 2005 and 2017.