An employee at a shelter for migrant children in the United States faces charges of sexual abuse against eight teenagers held there two years ago.

Young migrant children, whose faces can not be shown, are seen at the US Customs and Border Protection Facility in Tucson, Arizona.
Young migrant children, whose faces can not be shown, are seen at the US Customs and Border Protection Facility in Tucson, Arizona. (AFP)

A worker at a privately-run center for immigrant youths has been charged with 11 counts of sexual abuse involving teenage boys, according to court documents.

Levian D. Pacheco is alleged to have committed the offenses involving boys aged 15 to 17 between August 2016 and July 2017.

ProPublica, the news outlet which first reported on the case, said Friday that Pacheco was 25-years-old and HIV positive.

The case was revealed amid a furor over the separation of parents from their children as part of President Donald Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration.

TRT World's Jon Brain has more details.

The separations caused a domestic and international firestorm, and in June the president reversed course.

Trump ordered an end to the separations, but as of last week's deadline, some 711 of the roughly 2,500 separated children were still not reunited with their parents.

According to the court documents, Pacheco is alleged to have sexually abused the boys while working as a youth care worker at a center known as Casa Kokopelli run by the company Southwest Key in Mesa, Arizona.

The victims were "unaccompanied minors in the United States being held in official detention."

ProPublica said Pacheco, who has denied the charges, had worked at the center since May 2016.

A former Walmart Supercenter now being used as a migrant children's shelter is pictured in Brownsville, Texas.
A former Walmart Supercenter now being used as a migrant children's shelter is pictured in Brownsville, Texas. (AFP)

Southwest Key, a non-profit which runs the center under a contract with the US Department of Health and Human Services, said its "number one priority" is to "keep the children in our care safe."

"Southwest Key Programs does extensive work to prevent all forms of abuse," the company said in a statement. "Our twenty-year history of taking care of children shows that when we see a problem, we report it, we fix it and we do it immediately."

Source: AFP