CHICAGO, Ill. — A 14-year-old is the first of several individuals to be charged for their role in the sexual assault of a teen that was streamed live on Facebook, Chicago police said Sunday.
In the video, the 15-year-old girl could be seen being assaulted by as many as six young men who also appeared to be teenagers. She was missing for more than a day before police located her.
During a news conference, police announced a 14-year-old juvenile has been arrested and charged, and a warrant has been issued for a 15-year-old in the case. They said additional warrants would be issued soon, as individuals possibly including adults are identified by investigators.
“They 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,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.
According to investigators, detectives worked with Facebook to execute several social media search warrants covering several videos and other content. They are now working to identify people involved through examining that evidence and interviewing the victim.
“She’s extremely traumatized from this event obviously, and then on top of what happened to her, the horrific acts… there’s a lot of social media, I’m going to call it bullying,” said Commander Brendan Deenihan.
Deenihan said no one has been charged for bullying the teen as no specific criminal acts or threats were made. He said it’s also unclear if people who saw the video on Facebook could be charged for viewing it.
The victim’s mother was filing a complaint March 21 at the police station after receiving stills of a Facebook Live video when she happened to see Johnson and brought the case to his attention personally. Police said the assault likely happened the day before, and after the victim was reported missing, she was found by police.
Johnson said especially as a father, the case has been personal for him.
“We’ve seen a few acts in this city in the last few months and it just disgusts me that people would look at that video and not pick up the phone and dial 911,” Johnson said.
Johnson said many of the local patrol officers remained involved with the investigation even after their “job was done.”
“It touched them so much that they stayed with that case, they not only found this young lady but they also arrested the individual that’s in custody,” Johnson said.
The 14-year-old boy was charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, and manufacturing and dissemination of child pornography.
Additional arrests are expected as the investigation continues.