Former guard at New York federal building charged with sexual assault of asylum seeker

NEW YORK (AP) — An asylum seeker was sexually assaulted by an armed guard at a federal building in New York City where the FBI maintains its offices, according to an indictment unsealed Monday.

Jimmy Solano-Arias, 42, of the Bronx, was charged in Manhattan federal court with disenfranchisement under the guise of law involving kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault. The charge carries a potential penalty of a maximum sentence of life in prison. He lost his job after his arrest on May 5, one day after the attack allegedly occurred. He is free on bail.

According to a criminal complaint signed by an FBI agent, Solano-Arias admitted in a videotaped interview with federal agents that the asylum seeker engaged in oral sex but claimed it was consensual.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Solano-Arias, who worked for a company that provides armed security for the building through contracts with the Federal Protective Service, was tasked with keeping federal employees and visitors to the building safe.

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Instead, he “used his uniform and firearm to force a vulnerable asylum seeker to perform oral sex on him,” Williams said.

According to charging documents, Solano-Arias saw the victim in a line and offered to help him with the paperwork.

She eventually led the man to a locked office on the second floor of the building where she put her hand on her holstered firearm and demanded that the man give her oral sex, according to a criminal complaint.

Although he initially resisted, the man complied because he saw Solano-Arias’ hand on his firearm and feared for his life, the complaint says.

The victim immediately reported the sexual assault to authorities, identified Solano-Arias in a series of six-image photos, and provided enough information for federal agents to confront Solano-Arias when she arrived the next day, according to the complaint.

An attorney for Solano-Arias did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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