U.S. Border Patrol Agent Michael Barends, 42, was arrested on January 17 and charged with continuous sexual assault of a child in Alpine, Texas.
According to an arrest affidavit, an investigation began on Monday, January 13. The victim was identified as Barends’ stepdaughter, who told her boyfriend, a student at her high school, that Barends had sexually assaulted her for years. The boyfriend reported it to a school guidance counselor who reached out to law enforcement. Authorities were able to bring in the girl and her mother for an interview on Jan. 16.
The victim told authorities that Barends had assaulted her more than 20 times since she was 12 years old, News 9 West reports. The alleged abuse is said to of started in January 2015 and lasted until June 2019, arrest affidavits say.
The victim told authorities that Barends would abuse her at night when everyone in the house was asleep or when he was alone with her, the arrest affidavit says. He touched and penetrated her and told his stepdaughter “that this would benefit her,” according to the complaint and affidavit. He also asked that she touch him, but she refused, according to the affidavit.
A warrant was then issued for Barends who was taken into custody.
Barends worked with immigrant children apprehended at the United States Mexican border. Barends was a supervisor within the Big Bend Sector along the southern border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says that Barends was off-duty when he was arrested and that they will be cooperating with the investigation.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection takes all allegations of misconduct very seriously and does not tolerate criminal activity within its ranks.”