ICE admits releasing alleged child rapist

Michael Volpe Contributor
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A suspected child rapist is on the loose and in a statement obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement accepts responsibility for releasing him.

The man is identified by ICE as Amado Espinoza-Ramirez. Chicago police arrested him last August, and he was ultimately charged with forty-two counts of predatory sexual acts.

A publicly available inventory of the charges against Espinoza-Ramirez lists multiple counts of sexual relations within the family, multiple counts of sexual assault with the use of force and multiple counts of sexual assault involving a minor less than thirteen years old.

After his Aug. 29, 2011 arrest, Espinoza-Ramirez appeared on Aug. 31 in the Chicago courtroom of Cook County Circuit Court Judge Maria Kuriakos-Ciesil.

At this point, Espinoza-Ramirez was only charged with a handful of the forty-two counts listed in his final indictment. Kuriakos-Ciesil gave Espinoza-Ramirez a bond of $100,000, meaning a $10,000 payment would bail him out of jail.

Also on Aug. 31, ICE placed a detainer, or hold, on Espinoza-Ramirez. If he did post bail, ICE would detain him rather than allowing his release.

On Sept. 1, according to bonding records, an individual named Humberto Trujillo of the 2100 block of North Western Avenue in Chicago put up the cash to spring Espinoso-Ramirez. In the bonding receipt, Trujillo described himself as a “friend.” (RELATED: More on illegal immigration)

ICE took custody of Espinoza-Ramirez on Sept. 2, but later that day ICE officials released him pending a November hearing before an immigration judge. Espinoza-Ramirez never showed up for that Nov. 18 hearing, and he’s been a fugitive ever since.

Because ICE placed a detainer on Espinoza-Ramirez, Cook County jail officials didn’t release him. Rather, Espinoza-Ramirez was first handed over to ICE.

According to a statement from ICE, acquired exclusively by TheDC, “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed an immigration detainer on Amado Espinoza-Ramirez at the Cook County Jail on Aug. 31, 2011. He was transferred to ICE custody on Sept. 2, 2011, placed into removal proceedings, and released the same day pending a hearing before an immigration judge.”

“He failed to appear for a hearing in federal immigration court and was ordered removed in absentia on Nov. 18, 2011. He is currently considered to be an immigration fugitive with an outstanding order of deportation. As an immigration fugitive, Mr. Espinoza-Ramirez falls within ICE’s enforcement priorities,” said the federal agency in a statement.

ICE would say nothing more on the record about the suspect or the circumstances surrounding his release. Immigration experts contacted by TheDC expressed shock about the details of this case.

Isaul Verdin, a veteran immigration lawyer based in Dallas, said he considered the case very unusual. “Normally, the crime this individual appears to be charged with should have raised all sorts of red flags,” he said.

Verdin said that a memo issued by ICE Director John Morton in June gave ICE agents guidance on how to handle such a situation. In that memo, Morton attempted to define acceptable discretion that ICE agents could use when investigating and processing suspected illegal aliens. That memo emphasized that ICE agents should focus on individuals deemed dangerous while de-emphasizing non-violent offenders.

Verdin said that electronic monitoring and other tracking tools are available to ICE agents, but the agency declined to clarify whether or not Espinoza was given such monitoring.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to comment for this story. Frank Bilecki, spokesperson for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, merely responded: “Anxiously awaiting your story.”