Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Gang Rape Case Of 11-Year-Old Girl In Texas Continues To Divide Small Town
The vicious gang rape has exposed racial tensions in the town of nearly 9,000, as the suspects are all African-American while the victim, who is now 12, is Hispanic. “It’s segregating our community … the reaction is anger, devastation.
More than a dozen men are set to go before a judge Wednesday in the horrific gang rape of an 11-year-old girl that has torn apart a small Texas town.
Fourteen men have been charged in the incident and are scheduled to be in a state district courtroom in Liberty for status updates. Five minors also face prosecution in the brutal attacks.
The vicious gang rape has exposed racial tensions in the town of nearly 9,000, as the suspects are all African-American while the victim, who is now 12, is Hispanic.
“It’s segregating our community … the reaction is anger, devastation,” Brenda Myers – who knows the victim and runs the Community and Children’s Impact Center in Cleveland, the town where the alleged sex crime occurred – told ABC News in March.
Investigators first learned of the attacks after a student told authorities he had seen a cell phone video of at least one of the gang rapes. The recording, which was supposedly made inside a trailer in November, allegedly showed the faces of some of the suspects, as well as the victim.
The girl later told police that she was raped on at least five occasions between September and December. Some of the attacks included seven to eight attackers.
Most of the adult suspects face charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child, while four face a charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child. Most have pleaded not guilty and are free on bond.
One, 26-year-old Marcus Porchia, was charged after his arrest with sexually assaulting another girl in an unrelated case.
The suspects range in age from a middle-school student to a 27-year-old, and include two star athletes at the local high school, as well as adults with criminal records.
A gag order has prevented those involved from discussing the case, but family members have come out to defend the accused — and attack the child, as well as her Mexican immigrant parents.
“Them boys didn’t rape her,” Angie Woods told the Houston Chronicle in April. “She wanted this to happen.”
“I also think the parents of that child need to be held accountable,” said another Cleveland resident, Sheila Hightower. “[They] weren’t even aware where she was.”
The 12-year-old is now in foster care. Her parents fled the town of Cleveland, which is about 50 miles northeast of Houston, due to threatening phone calls.