Ex-Border agent indicted in sex assault of Arizona teen
PHOENIX (AP/3TV/CBS 5) — A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent has been indicted in connection with the kidnapping and sexual assault of a teenage girl in Arizona earlier this year, according to federal authorities.
Department of Justice officials said a superseding indictment unsealed Wednesday accuses 27-year-old Aaron Mitchell with a civil rights violation of sexually assaulting and kidnapping a minor victim. He’s also been charged with kidnapping a minor victim and misleading state investigators.
Prosecutors said Mitchell faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine if he’s convicted in the case. It was unclear Thursday if Mitchell has a lawyer yet who can speak on his behalf.
Court documents show Mitchell was arrested in April after he allegedly kidnapped a 15-year-old girl in Douglas and took her to Sierra Vista before the alleged sexual assault. According to Douglas police, Mitchell approached the victim in his vehicle as the girl was on her way to school.
The girl told investigators that Mitchell was wearing a tactical vest labeled “POLICE” and asked her for documentation, which she provided. After checking her paperwork, Mitchell allegedly told the girl he would drive her to the Douglas police station.
Police say Mitchell is accused of driving the girl to an apartment complex in Sierra Vista and allegedly sexually assaulting her before taking her back to Douglas.
“The people in those positions have inside knowledge. They know how to avoid leaving evidence, they know what is investigated to get convictions in these crimes,” said John Iannarelli, a former FBI agent.
Iannarelli said what this former CBP agent reportedly did to this girl was a crime of opportunity and the worst kind of predator. “What predators usually do, they target victim that they think they can overpower, convince,” he said.
Iannarelli said while kids should be able to trust authorities, it’s important to remember you have more power than you think. “We want them to trust law enforcement, but we also want them to trust their instincts,” said Iannarelli. “If you’re suspicious, if anything seems wrong, call 911. Ask them. No law-abiding cop would ever prevent you from talking to the 911 system.”
Mitchell was later booked into the Cochise County Jail on suspicion of sexual misconduct with a minor.
Arizona’s Family News Staff contributed to this report.
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