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Four boys charged in the rape of an 8-year-old girl

A 14-year-old boy is charged as an adult. The other boys -- ages 9, 10 and 13 -- are charged as juveniles. Authorities say the victim's family has rejected her for bringing shame on them.

July 24, 2009|Associated Press

PHOENIX — Authorities said Thursday that four boys ages 9 to 14 took turns raping an 8-year-old girl for more than 10 minutes after luring her into a shed with chewing gum, and now her family has rejected her for bringing shame on them.

"The father told the case worker and an officer in her presence that he didn't want her back," Phoenix Police Sgt. Andy Hill said. "He said, 'Take her, I don't want her.' "

The victim is in the care of Child Protective Services, authorities said.

The 14-year-old boy was charged Wednesday as an adult with two counts of sexual assault and kidnapping, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office said. He is being held without bond.

The other boys -- ages 9, 10 and 13 -- were charged as juveniles with sexual assault. The 10- and 13-year-old boys also were charged with kidnapping, the county attorney's office said.

Phoenix investigators said the boys lured the girl to an empty shed July 16 under the pretense of offering her gum. The boys held her down while they took turns assaulting her, police said.

"She was brutally sexually assaulted for a period of about 10 to 15 minutes," Hill said.

Officers responded to an emergency call about hysterical screams. They found the girl partially clothed and the boys running from the scene.

"This is a deeply disturbing case that has gripped our community," Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said Thursday. "Our office will seek justice for the young victim in this heart-rending situation."

Hill cited the family's background as the reason it shunned the girl. All five children are refugees from the West African nation of Liberia.

In some parts of Africa, women often are blamed for being raped for enticing men or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Victims are often shunned by their families.

"It's a shame-based culture, so the crime is not as important as protecting the family name and the name of the community," said Tony Weedor, a Liberian refugee in Littleton, Colo., and co-founder of the CenterPoint International Foundation, which helps Liberians resettle in the U.S.

"I just feel so sorry for this little girl. Some of these people will not care about the trauma she's going through -- they're more concerned about the shame she brought on the family."

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