CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Chicago Police Department is investigating claims officers were having sex with migrants at a police station in North Lawndale. Migrants housed at that station were being moved on Friday.
CPD would only confirm it had opened an investigation into allegations officers were having sexual relations with migrants staying at a West Side police station, and would not provide any further details on the probe.
Sources told CBS 2 that as many as four officers at the 10th (Ogden) District were involved in the alleged misconduct with at least one migrant who was staying there. Sources also said a teenage migrant is pregnant after an encounter with an officer, although police have not confirmed those details.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the agency that investigates police misconduct cases, also is investigating.
"While COPA investigators are currently determining Whether the facts and details of this allegation are substantiated, we want to assure the public that all allegations of this nature are of the highest priority and COPA will move swiftly to address any misconduct by those involved," said COPA First Deputy Chief Administrator, Ephraim Eaddy.
A spokesperson from Mayor Brandon Johnson's Office released a statement in response to the allegations:
"The City takes these allegations, as well as the care and well-being of all residents and new arrivals, very seriously. We are monitoring the situation closely, but cannot comment further as this is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Bureau of Internal Affairs and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability."
"It is at the very least, unprofessional for a police officer to have sexual contact with a migrant," said Arthur Lurigio, a professor of psychology and criminology at Loyola University Chicago. "With an underage migrant, that behavior has been elevated to criminal behavior. Minors cannot give consent for sexual encounters with adults."
Lurigio added the department "followed the proper course with proper transparency and proper timing."
The allegations have sparked outrage in the Lawndale and Little Village community the 10th District serves.
"The police department is supposed to be protecting them, and we thought that by having them here they would be safe," said Baltazar Enriquez, an activist with the Little Village Community Council.
"Those allegations themselves should shake us to our core," said U.S. Rep. Delia Ramirez. "We're talking about people who have been crossing borders; in some cases, deserts and jungles, for weeks."
As hundreds of migrants are taking shelter at police stations across the city, Ramirez, a member of the Homeland Security Committee, said more federal funding is needed to house this growing population.
"It reminds us that we have a responsibility to ensure that we get the resources necessary to move every single person out of police stations," she said.
CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot reported that most of the approximately 60 migrants who had been staying at the Ogden District were loaded onto two buses Friday afternoon to be taken away from the station, but it was unclear where they were being taken. A few of the migrants appeared to still be inside the station as of 10 p.m. Friday.
In a statement, Mayor Brandon Johnson's office confirmed the city is "in the process of relocating all new arrivals from District 10 today in accordance with its ongoing strategy of moving asylum seekers out of all Chicago police stations. New arrivals are being moved to temporary shelters in current operation, with full relocation to be completed by tomorrow morning."
"The Johnson administration will continue to center the safety of all Chicagoans, including our new neighbors. The administration is also committed to working with CPD to ensure there are protocols in place to keep migrants at police stations safe while they wait for more adequate shelter, and to hold any officers and/or staff involved accountable upon the determination of the investigation."
Le Mignot asked one of the men being transferred on one of the buses if he knew where he was being taken and he said, "My love, I have no idea where I am going." Families with children were being boarded on one bus while single men were taken on the other bus.
Hundreds of migrants have been forced to stay at Chicago police stations in recent months as the city has struggled to find sufficient temporary housing for thousands of migrants that have been sent to Chicago from Texas since last summer.
While the city has placed most of the migrants in temporary shelters, with not enough space for all of them, all 22 police stations in the city have been used as temporary homes for migrants until more appropriate housing can be found.
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