PHOENIX - Prosecutors filed sexual assault charges against four males ages 9 to 14, officials said yesterday, alleging they “brutally’’ attacked an 8-year-old girl after luring her to a shed with chewing gum.
The youths held the girl down while they took turns assaulting her, according to police. All five children are refugees from the West African nation of Liberia.
“They restrained her and she was brutally sexually assaulted for a period of about 10 to 15 minutes,’’ police Sergeant Andy Hill said, calling it one of the worst cases the department has dealt with.
The 14-year-old was charged Wednesday as an adult with two counts of sexual assault and kidnapping, the Maricopa County attorney’s office said.
The other youths - ages 9, 10, and 13 - were charged as juveniles with sexual assault. The 10- and 13-year-olds also were charged with kidnapping.
Authorities said the victim was in the care of Child Protective Services after her parents blamed her for the attack and accused her of bringing shame to the family.
Investigators said the youths lured the girl to an empty shed July 16 under the pretense of offering her chewing gum.