Abuse Charges Sought Against the Parents of 8 Year-Old Alleged Rape Victim

Phoenix police are seeking child abuse and neglect charges against the parents of a Liberian girl who was allegedly raped by four young boys in July. Investigators have submitted a request to the Maricopa County Attorney Office, which will review the reports and decide whether or not to bring charges.

The rape of the 8-year-old girl in a storage shed, allegedly by four boys who lured her there with chewing gum, has drawn international attention, not in small part because of reports that the victim's parents shunned their daughter after the attack. The girl and the boys are all Liberian refugees.

The request to file felony child-abuse charges comes after investigators uncovered numerous reports of possible child abuse involving the girl dating back to 2005.
In 2007, the girl was removed from her parents' home for a weekend by Glendale police after school officials reported seeing suspicious injuries on the girl. In three separate incidents last year, police found the girl wandering lost and alone in her neighborhood, begging for food.   

Child Protective Services spokesman Steve Meissner told the Associated Press that CPS couldn't comment on the cases because of Arizona's confidentiality laws, but that "removing a child from the family has to be one of the last resorts."

Police haven't named the parents to protect the identity of the girl.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea