WASHINGTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Paulo Morales, 47, was arrested today after having been indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Florida on charges of deprivation of civil rights and abusive sexual contact, announced Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, and Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
The six-count indictment charges Morales with three felony counts of abusive sexual contact and three misdemeanor counts of deprivation of civil rights.
The indictment alleges that on various dates in January 2011, Morales, while working as an officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Miami International Airport, committed civil rights offenses and abusive sexual contact by the non-consensual groping of the breasts of three separate women, who were in the custody of Customs and Border Protection.
If convicted, Morales faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison for each count of abusive sexual contact and one year in prison for each count of deprivation of civil rights.
This case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William White of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney Henry Leventis of the Civil Rights Division.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.