In a letter to House Ethics Chairman Ted Deutch (D-FL), the Department of Health and Human Services demanded that the lawmaker apologize for his public remarks about the abuse of migrant children who are in the custody of the agency, Politico reported.
According to the letter obtained by Politico, HHS’ Acting Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement Jonathan Hayes said that Deutch mischaracterized the data and “impugned the integrity of hundreds of federal and civil servants.”
In an impassioned speech during the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the family separation policy, Deutch shared data on the number of sexual abuse complaints made by children in HHS custody over the last four years. The data show that thousands of children have filed complaints of abuse, and that includes hundreds of alleged assaults by HHS staff.
But Hayes argues that the majority of allegations filed fall under the category of “‘inappropriate sexual behaviors’ involving solely UAC (unaccompanied alien children) and not staff or any other adults.” He said the category is used to define behaviors such as “use of vulgar language.”
Deutch told Politico he stands by the comments he made earlier this week and still seeks a meeting with HHS on the topic.
Read the letter below: