PHOENIX, Arizona (AFP) – One of four Liberian boys charged with raping an eight-year-old girl in the southwestern US state of Arizona last week will be prosecuted as an adult, authorities said.
The details of the case have shocked local officials and provoked outrage across the United States after the parents of the young victim disowned her on grounds she had “shamed” her family.
Officers responding to screams from an empty shed in an apartment complex on July 16 found the partially-clothed girl and four boys aged 9 to 14 running away.
The four boys had lured the girl into the shed with chewing gum. They held her down and took turns raping her for about 10 to 15 minutes, according to Phoenix police.
The girl’s parents shocked officers when they said she had brought shame to the family and did not want her back. Both the girl and the boys are Liberian immigrants.
WEST PALM BEACH — Three young men charged in the rape and and attack upon a mother and son in Dunbar Village were ordered to be fingerprinted and palm printed Wednesday, over the objections of their defense attorneys.
Avion Lawson, Jakaris Taylor and 20-year-old Tommy Poindexter, all jailed since shortly after the June 2007 attack, were unshackled and printed after prosecutors requested it and a judge agreed. The young men have also been ordered to give handwriting samples in the near future.
The three, together with Nathan Walker, 18, are set for trial in August. Charges against them, including armed sexual battery by multiple perpetrators and home invasion robbery, are punishable by up to life in prison if convicted.
The mother and son were attacked by a group of young males inside their Dunbar apartment. The savagery of the attack – the mother and boy were forced into sex acts with each other – made national headlines.
Sexual assault and child abuse happen in all communities.
That being said, I want to take a moment to look at the African American community. Spiralling HIV/AIDS rates – the unconscionable number of black girls with STDs, etc., etc., etc., etc., tells me that we need a dialogue about sexuality that goes way beyond video hos, True Love Waits ceremonies and slogans.
We need sexual education. We need to know and understand how our bodies work.
We need moral clarity. I don’t care what consenting ADULTS do in bed as long as they do it from a place of wholeness and not brokenness, unresolved issues, rage or anger. I am afraid of the scripts that pornography seems to be hardwiring into our brains about how to treat each other in sexual contexts, what we should look like, how we should behave, what should turn us on.
We need boundaries that don’t allow men to comment on women’s body parts and make us feel ashamed and afraid. Mask of fat, anyone?
We need respect for black men to express their full range of sexuality in truth. No more creeping. No more down low. It’s not cute. It’s not funny.
We really need to talk. Women alone. Men alone. Men and women together. Across generations. And more than once. Ongoing dialogue not one shot solutions.
I want to enjoy my body and I want other to do the same in safety, without being ashamed of our desires, without turning into prey or predator.
Silence = Death