DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Five illegal Mexican immigrants who say they were raped while working at an Iowa egg producer have agreed to pursue criminal charges against their alleged attackers, their lawyer says.

The women are working with Wright County prosecutors. County Attorney Mike Houser said Wednesday he did not know when charges would be filed.

The women, who worked as egg packers, called crisis advocates last summer, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit in August against their employer, DeCoster Farms, and Iowa Ag-Construction Co., which hires workers for a number of egg farms in Iowa.

The lawsuit alleged the women's supervisors attacked them and threatened to have them fired or killed if they did not submit.

Their lawyer, Sonia Parras Konrad of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said she and other advocates have been educating the women about the U.S. legal system to help them trust authorities.

Most of the 200 or so people working for DeCoster farms and processing plants in the Clarion area are Hispanic and many are believed to be illegal immigrants. Federal agents raided two DeCoster Farms operations on Monday and arrested 32 people. Raids last spring on DeCoster and another nearby farm resulted in 91 arrests.

DeCoster Farms is owned by A.J. ``Jack'' DeCoster, who reached a $6 million settlement last May with hundreds of Mexican laborers at his operations in Maine who accused him of discrimination.


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