CHICAGO (CBS) – A 14-year-old boy has been arrested in the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl that was streamed live on Facebook, an attack that Police Supt Eddie Johnson called “absolutely horrific.”
At a news conference on Sunday, police said the suspect faces felony charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault, manufacturing of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography. More arrests are expected.
“It disgusts me. It makes you wonder, what are we doing as a society, that people watch this and don’t pick up the phone” and alert police, Johnson said.
“The young men responsible should be ashamed of themselves. They’ve humiliated themselves, humiliated their families, and now they’re going to be held accountable for what they did.”
The alleged incident occurred in mid-March.
Brendan Deenihan, commander of Central Area Detectives, said that people continued to “make fun” of the victim in Facebook posts. He said there were several other offenders involved.
“This caused even more trauma for the victim,” Deenihan said. “She is having a difficult time talking about it. On top of that, constant social media bullying.”
The victim knew one of the people involved in the assault and was lured to the location of the alleged crime and held against her will, Deenihan said.
Working with Facebook, police secured social media search warrants that led to the charges. There is another warrant for an arrest of another minor offender, Deenihan said.
Police were not aware of the attack until the girl’s mother approached Johnson as he was leaving a police station on the city’s West Side and showed him still images of the video assault.
Johnson took the woman into the 10th District police station and immediately put detectives on the case. The department contacted Facebook to take down the video, which it did.
The girl disappeared the day before from Lawndale and initially was reported to police as a missing person.
The girl was located about 7:45 a.m. on March 21 at 16th and Independence by 10th District officers, police said. She was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital and subsequently was reunited with her family.
As many as 40 people watched online as the girl was attacked, but none reported it to police.
“This was a torture, not just sexual assault,” said community activist Andrew Holmes.