U.S. Customs Agent Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Offenses of Sexually Assaulting 3 Women

Paulo Morales, 47, admitted to three civil rights offenses

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    A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer admitted Tuesday in federal court he sexually assaulted three women in his custody.

    Paulo Morales, 47, pleaded guilty to three civil rights offenses for sexually groping the women, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a release.

    Morales, who worked as an officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at Miami International Airport, said in January 2011 he groped the breasts of three women that were in his custody without their consent.

    "A law enforcement badge is a privilege; we will not tolerate its misuse as a key to assert power or unlawful force over those in one’s custody," said Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Professional Responsibility special agent David D'Amato.

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    "This former Customs and Border Protection Officer misused his office and his power to sexually assault three women in his custody at Miami International Airport, in violation of their civil rights. My office and the Department of Justice are fully committed to protecting the civil rights of our citizens from all types of abuses,” U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer said in a statement. 

    Morales is set to be sentenced on Oct. 26 and faces up to three years in jail and a $300,000 fine.

    It was not immediately known who was representing Morales.

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