I read about this case a few days ago, but I wanted to wait until more information was released before commenting on it. For those unaware, an 11-year-girl has claims two 9-year-old boys and an 8-year-old of kidnapped and raped her. All three boys are being held in juvenile detention until the next hearing. At the court hearing the boys were not even able to touch the floor with their feet, but they were placed in restraints. Until yesterday, the boys potentially faced adult charges. What a wonder notion, charging a boy as an adult just to sentence him as harshly as possible; ironically, the same child NAMBLA is told is incapable of consenting to sex because he lacks the cognitive capacity to understand anything like sex.
As Glenn Sacks noted, something about this case seems off. Apparently there was another girl playing with the group during this time the act supposedly happened. No articles, statements given by the police or statement’s made by the girl address where this other girl went or why she is not charged with rape and kidnapping too. That seems to be a major issue if another child was present or aware of whatever occurred (assuming something did occur), particularly since the girl only accused one of the 9-year-olds of doing anything to her. According to the statement she gave to CNN, the other two boys were just standing there. If the another girl was present, she should have been charged as well.
The major issue is the girl’s size in relation to the boys. As Sacks points out, the girl is fairly tall,nearly the size of the female reporter interviewing her. The boys are considerably smaller than her, the 8-year-old weighing about 40 pounds according to his father. In the photo, the girl looks almost 5 feet tall and somewhere between 100 to 115 pounds. I extend the benefit of doubt to child victims, but given the girl’s size and that she claims only one boy did anything her, it honestly makes me think she is lying. I live with a 7-year-old who weighs about 10 pounds more than the 8-year-old in this case, and he can barely control his dog who only weighs about 10 or 15 pounds more than him, let alone restrain him.
I simply find it highly improbable that a girl as mentally capable (she gave a competent, matter-of-fact-interview) and physically larger as she is could have been restrained and forced into sex by a child who weighs twice as little as she. I cannot say that it could not happen, but it pushes the realm of believability, especially with children this young. However, assuming it did happen, any child psychologist will say that a child that young, regardless of gender, would not behave in a predatory fashion without having been previously or currently being sexually abused. Yet, as far as what has been made public, the police are not even looking into that potential, which raises a lot of red flags, as does the fact that the boys have been imprisoned rather than released to their parents for “delinquency.” That sounds more like a wear-down tactic than a precautionary one, and it bears a striking similarity to the tactics used in the Ryan Harris case, which also involved very young boys accused of rape (and murder), that eventually garnered “confessions.”
Another issue that Sacks mentions and is worthy of note is whether this was consensual. If it was, then the girl could be and should be charged with rape under the law. Whether she will be charged if it is determined the boys are not guilty or the charges against them are dropped remains to be seen. In all likelihood, she probably will not be charged with anything. It is a definite that if either occur, the parents of the boys would push for the girl to be charged, and rightfully so.
Personally, I would like to know what evidence the police have. Given the boys’ ages, DNA evidence is highly unlikely, especially when one factors in the two days it took the girl to get examined. I honestly cannot fathom what it is that is strong enough to go on besides the girl’s statements and perhaps some marks or bruises on her body, which do not necessarily prove she was raped. I know the authorities think the girl’s statements are solid, but every time a police officer says that I recall the case a few years ago where three 11-year-old girls accused a homeless man of rape to cover up for truancy. The police believed the girls enough to lock the man up for three months–medical examination/evidence be damned–and only freed him after one girl recanted.
The frightening part about this is just how quickly the media jumped to paint these boys as rapists with nothing more than the girl’s statement and Police Chief Mike Wilkie’s statement that strangely implies that the girl may have actually consented, but that the boys cannot be victims despite being younger:
But Wilkie said children that young cannot legally consent to sex, “so we have to go with the charges we have.”
With no desire to poke fun at this case, Wilkie’s rationale almost sounds like first-to-report, first-to-be-believed. If a young child cannot consent, then obviously the boys, all being younger than the girl, cannot consent. Again, something about this case seems off, just like the way the recent case in Oregon was handled.
Of course, there are other views about this case. One such view holds the father of the 8-year-old in contempt for essentially suggesting that the 11-year-old girl used his 8-year-old son and then claimed rape to avoid getting in trouble (which honestly sounds more plausible):
The motives this father is assigning to this girl are the same motives his son would have to lie about what happened, only to a greater degree because of the seriousness of the charges. These motives are the same ones a father would use to justify launching a personal attack against an 11-year-old crime victim. Butt covering.
The motivation for the girl’s alleged lie is based on an unfounded claim that she felt the need to lie for her own protection. This is a stock claim used without any specific supporting evidence other than the alleged victim’s gender. In contrast the boys motivations for lying are founded in the seriousness of these charges.
I responded on the blog, but this particular blogger has a habit of disallowing posts, so my response is below:
I realize of course that it is doubtful you will publish this comment, but your above conclusion is incorrect. At 11-years-old, the girl is fully capable of knowing that any sexual act with another child would get her in trouble. She might not lie out of malice, but for the same reason the boys would: she does not want to be in trouble. And in her case, she probably knows that any act done with a younger child could get her in serious trouble. Again, she may not even think about prison or the police, just in terms of her parents, though it is more likely she would know that she could get in trouble with the police than the boys.
So to say the father made the claim because of the girl’s gender is grossly incorrect, though saying that 8 and 9 year-old boys would lie to avoid the seriousness of these charges is a claim based on gender. At their age the boys do not have the capacity to understand what sex is, let alone rape, which is often stated by numerous professionals who work with children. What is also interesting is that no one has bothered to check to see if these boys have ever been abused, which would be a given if the girl’s claim were true.
Secondly, I think that is sad that if the act was consensual the only one you feel would bear any responsibility are the 8 and 9-year-old boys, but not the 11-year-old girl, despite that under the law the boys cannot consent.
This is a good instance in which presumption of innocence should be the default, but it looks as if it is not. Coincidentally, this case bears a remarkable semblance to the Ryan Harris case where two boys of the same age and size as the Georgia boys were accused of raping, dragging and murdering Ryan Harris. They were later found to be innocent, though they did confess to the crimes after being placed in prison, a mental hospital, on house arrest and grilled by Chicago’s finest. And in that case as well, the media had already assumed they were guilty.
The main issue with this is not whether small children are capable of hurting other, even older, children. That is a given, regardless of gender. The issue here is whether this is an actual rape where these boys actually ganged up on this girl and actually forcibly assaulted her or whether this girl claimed this happened just to cover up having had sex with the boys because she did not want to get in trouble.
Personally, my guess is that the girl told her friends about what she had done and one of the girls may have told her parents or said something around them, and they later contacted the girl’s mother. When asked, the girl said the boys threated her and hurt her in order to avoid getting in trouble, though it is quite possible that the girl’s mother lead her into thinking she had been raped.
As it is, I simply do not believe this girl is telling the truth. I am saying that as someone who has experienced what she claims she went through. Based on her own statements, the way she talked and how she described it, I honestly believe the girl is lying. If evidence comes out proving otherwise I will gladly retract that statement and apology. Until then, I will trust my gut.