In my previous post, I reported on the changing demographics of Texas and now, coincidentally, comes this story about an African refugee translator allegedly preying on those he was hired to help.
Abilene police said they believe Aloys Nzeyimana used his role as a translator in the African refugee community in Abilene to hide sexual assault crimes against female refugees by intimidating his victims to stay quiet.
Nzeyimana was arrested Thursday afternoon as he left his job at the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District where he worked as a translator helping area health officials serve refugees. He had worked as a health department translator since 2005.
Nzeyimana, who was an African refugee and is not an American citizen, was charged Thursday with two counts of sexually assaulting a family member in December 2004, the arrest warrant affidavit filed with the court stated. Police said the victim also was a refugee.
Police asking other victims to come forward
At a Friday news conference at police department offices, Sgt. Lynn Beard urged members of the refugee community, or anyone who knows of a refugee who may be a victim, to contact APD’s criminal investigation department with information about the crime.
Beard said some refugees have great distrust for the government and police because of their interaction with authorities in their home countries in Africa. There, where corruption is a part of everyday life, people have little faith in getting relief from police or any branch of government because they see all governmental agencies as being intertwined and corrupt, he said.
This distrust has hampered the investigation for the past two weeks into sexual assault crimes that police believe Nzeyimana committed over the past half-decade against women in the refugee community in Abilene.
“We believe there are more victims in the African refugee community,” Beard said. “We know there is a lot of fear.”
Beard said some refugees view Nzeyimana as a governmental official and identify him as being an authority figure in the area. Potential victims of any crimes Nzeyimana may have committed may well be reluctant to come forward because of fear the police might retaliate against them, Beard said.
There appears to be no mention in the story about which African nation Nzeyimana came from as a refugee to the US. However, surely, the International Rescue Committee knows Nzeyimana because associated with this report is a link to the International Rescue Committee’s involvement in Abilene. Diversity is beautiful, right IRC?