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Ex-embassy worker suspected of sexually assaulting 24 women

SAN DIEGO — A former U.S. embassy worker in Mexico is believed to have drugged and sexually assaulted as many as two dozen women, filming many of them while they were unconscious, according to federal prosecutors.

Brian Jeffrey Raymond was arrested earlier this month in San Diego, where he had moved after leaving his job in June. He has been charged in one case involving an alleged assault on May 31 and prosecutors say they anticipate more charges involving 23 other women.

The FBI started investigating after Mexican police responding to a call May 31 found a woman naked and screaming from the balcony of an embassy-leased apartment in Mexico City.

Investigators found more than 400 photos and videos on Raymond's iCloud account in which he appears to be filming unconscious women, according to court documents.

Prosecutors say they now have evidence for charges involving 23 other alleged victims.

Raymond has worked for the U.S. government for 23 years in numerous countries, according to court documents. Prosecutors did not specify what position he held in Mexico other than to say he was working for a U.S. government agency at the embassy.

Roberto Velasco, director general of North America in Mexico's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Raymond was the first secretary of the United States, a mid-level diplomatic post.

Mexican authorities collaborated with U.S. officials on the investigation that led to Raymond's arrest “in order to bring to justice a potential series of sexual abuses that occurred in both countries," Velasco said in a statement.

The Mexican government emphasized “its categorical rejection of any form of gender violence," Velasco said.

Raymond has not entered a plea and his defence attorney did not immediately respond to phone messages and emails from The Associated Press requesting comment. The Daily Beast first reported on the charges.

Neither embassy nor State Department officials would comment on the case.

Raymond left his job in mid-June after he was questioned about the May 31 incident and his cellphones and lap top were seized, according to court documents.

Mexican police reported finding a “naked, hysterical woman desperately screaming for help from the defendant’s balcony," according to prosecutors. Raymond had been living there since August 2018.

The victim told investigators she had no idea that Raymond was filming her or that he had pulled down her bra, exposing her breasts.

The 23 other victims were discovered after investigators found hundreds of photos and videos, according to court documents.

If convicted, Raymond could face a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Fluent in Spanish and Mandarin, Raymond has “led an exemplary life" from all outward appearances, according to prosecutors.

“The fact that many victims in defendant’s case were unaware of his behaviour until they were shown the videos and photographs made while they were unconscious is evidence of his unique ability to portray a very different public face," prosecutors said in their court filings.

He continued to meet with women until September of this year in San Diego, according to court documents.

Raymond remains in custody in San Diego, though the case is being transferred to Washington. His preliminary hearing has been delayed until Dec. 14 because the coronavirus pandemic has impeded his new defence attorney's ability to travel and meet with him.


AP reporters Mark Stevenson and Christopher Sherman in Mexico City contributed to this report.

Julie Watson, The Associated Press

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