A case of alleged abuse of migrant children at an Arizona shelter will be referred to a local district attorney Monday for possible criminal charges. This comes after The Arizona Republic obtained surveillance videos that appear to show children being dragged and pushed by staffers at the Hacienda Del Sol Southwest Key facility in Youngtown. .
The alleged incidents took place in September, about a month before federal authorities suspended operations at the shelter, reports CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO-TV. Southwest Key closed the shelter soon after, the newspaper said.
Youngtown is about a half-hour northwest of downtown Phoenix.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office told CBS News it investigated the incidents and decided to submit the case to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
The Republic said it got the video under Arizona’s public records law.
KPHO said Southwest Key spokesperson Jeff Eller didn’t directly address the videos but provided the same statement Southwest Key’s national headquarters gave in October when the federal government suspended the shelter’s operations.
“We wholeheartedly welcomed the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s decision to suspend operations at Hacienda Del Sol and are working to thoroughly retrain our staff. We are simultaneously engaging the Child Welfare Consulting Partnership to do an independent, top-to bottom review of our processes, procedures, hiring and training in our Arizona shelters,” the statement said.
Youngtown is located about 30 minutes northwest of downtown Phoenix.
The Republic said Southwest Key reported the incidents, which involved three children and numerous staffers, to local, state and federal authorities, but it wasn’t clear whether the incidents were what led to the federal intervention.
State authorities blurred the videos to protect the children’s privacy, the Republic added.