Police in Chicago are currently searching and expecting for more arrests for what the police chief says is an "absolutely horrific" sexual assault incident of a minor that was streamed over Facebook Live last month.
Search For Suspects In Facebook Live Rape Case Well Under Way
A 14-year-old boy was already charged and arrested for the assault this weekend, as per Supt. Eddie Johnson. A second one, also a minor, is expected to be arrested and charged soon, while detectives are continuing to identify "several other offenders."
As NBC Chicago reports, about 40 people watched the incident unfold on Facebook Live, but no one called 911 to report it. Johnson says that the young men responsible for the assault "should be ashamed of themselves," adding that they've humiliated themselves in addition to their families. "[A]nd now they're going to be held accountable for what they did."
Police was able to obtain social media warrants by working with Facebook on the case. It helped detectives determine the two offenders and secure arrest warrants.
The investigation is ongoing, as per Johnson. Details at present are murky since the victim is still struggling to properly communicate what had happened to her due to trauma, according to Cmdr. Brendan Deenihan, speaking to the press at the Chicago police headquarters. But they have video evidence of the assault, so what happened to the lady is not a matter of doubt.
"[S]he's just having a very difficult time," said Deenihan.
Facebook Live Sexual Assault
The attack happened on March 19. A day later, the victim's mother was given screenshots of her daughter being raped, according to the police. The mother then informed the police that her daughter was missing, and on March 21, she turned to Johnson, who was leaving a Lawndale police station.
The daughter had stayed with the family on the evening of March 18 and had gone to church with them the following day, then was dropped near her home before disappearing. According to Deenihan, one of the attackers coaxed the girl to a residence. She was then prevented from leaving said location. As many as six young men participated in the sexual assault, the police confirmed. The girl was found walking down the street near her own home two days later.
The victim has been bullied online since the assault, the police confirmed. But she has been moved to a "safe place," according to Andrew Holmes, a community activist. Both the victim and her mother are now being given counseling.
As Chicago Tribune reports, in addition to being charged with aggravated sexual assault, the 14-year-old boy was also charged with manufacture of child pornography and the dissemination of child pornography — all of which are felonies, the police confirmed.
The suspect will face a hearing in juvenile court on Monday, April 3.
Possible Charges For Those Who Watched The Sexual Assault On Facebook Live
Aside from the suspects, the authorities have also looked into the possibility of charges against those who were watching the assault live but didn't bother to alert the police, in addition to those who bullied the girl post-assault. But the undertaking may prove complicated, as Facebook has already told authorities that determining viewers of a live video on the site can't be done.
The sexual assault marks the fourth time a Chicago incident has occured on Facebook Live since October ended. This includes the recent Facebook Live broadcast of a mentally disabled man being tormented and tortured by a group of people.