Ex-guard at NYC federal building indicted in sex assault of asylum seeker

An asylum seeker was sexually assaulted by an armed guard at a federal building in New York City where the FBI has its offices, according to an indictment unsealed Monday.

Jimmy Solano-Arias, 42, of the Bronx, was charged in Manhattan federal court with deprivation of rights under color of law involving kidnapping and aggravated sexual abuse. The charge carries a potential penalty of maximum sentence of life in prison. He lost his job after his arrest on May 5, a day after the attack is alleged to have occurred. He is free on bail.

According to a criminal complaint signed by an FBI agent, Solano-Arias admitted in a video recorded interview with federal agents that the asylum seeker performed oral sex but claimed it was consensual.

Michael J. Driscoll, head of New York's FBI office, said in a release that the asylum seeker had come to 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan on May 4 to submit an asylum application.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Solano-Arias, who was employed by a company that provides armed security for the building through contracts with the Federal Protective Service, was tasked with keeping federal employees and visitors to the building safe.

Instead he "used his uniform and firearm to force a vulnerable individual who was seeking asylum to perform oral sex on him," Williams said.

According to charging documents, Solano-Arias spotted the victim in a line and offered to assist him with paperwork.

He eventually led the man to a locked office on the second floor of the building where he put his hand on his holstered firearm and demanded that the man provide oral sex, a criminal complaint said.

Although he initially resisted, the man complied because he saw Solano-Arias's hand on his firearm and feared for his life, the complaint said.

Afterward, Solano-Arias told the victim to wait in the office until the hallway was clear, and the man managed to record a brief video on his cellphone of Solano-Arias, the complaint said.

The victim immediately reported the sexual assault to authorities, identified Solano-Arias in a six-picture photo array, and provided enough information that federal agents confronted Solano-Arias when he arrived the next day, according to the complaint.

A lawyer for Solano-Arias did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.