The mother of a 15-year-old girl who was gang-raped in an attack that was live streamed on Facebook said kids have been joking about the incident and harassing her family. The woman was reunited with her daughter on Tuesday, two days after the girl went missing and a day after police learned of the attack. She said her daughter is staying with a relative and is scared to come home, and that she shares that fear.
“This is just disturbing and to think the kids think it is funny,” the mother, 32, told The Associated Press. The AP isn’t naming her to protect the identity of her daughter.
She said that since the attack, people have threatened on Facebook that “they are going to get her” daughter and that neighborhood children have been laughing about the incident and ringing the family’s doorbell looking for the girl. She said she’s shocked by the callousness people have shown since the attack, which was viewed live by about 40 people on Facebook Live — none of whom reported it to the police.
“I can’t stay here,” she said of Lawndale, the West Side neighborhood where her family lives. “I have other kids, too. I let them walk to school and now I have to take them.”
The Chicago Police Department (CPD) said the teenager was found on Tuesday and they are now searching for the five or six men or boys suspected of sexually assaulting her. In the meantime, no one has been arrested or charged with the rape, but police are questioning “persons of interest.”
Reginald King, the girl’s uncle, tells the Tribune that he believes the attackers were part of a 50-strong gang of teen boys, known as the “beam team,” that has been terrorizing the girl’s Lawndale neighborhood.
“I want to make sure this never happens to anybody else’s kids, and if that starts with taking down this one group, I’ll make that my life’s mission,” he says.
A spokeswoman for Facebook, Andrea Saul, declined to comment on the girl’s case, specifically, but she said the company takes its “responsibility to keep people safe on Facebook very seriously.”
“Crimes like this are hideous and we do not allow that kind of content on Facebook,” she said.
The video marks at least the second time in recent months that the Chicago Police Department has investigated an apparent attack that was streamed live on Facebook. In January, four people were arrested after a cellphone footage showed them allegedly taunting and beating a mentally disabled man.