The Maricopa County Attorney's Office wants to charge a second teen attacker as an adult in the sexual assault of an 8-year-old Liberian girl.
Last month, police say the 8-year-old was sexually assaulted by four Liberian boys — ages 9, 10, 13, and 14. After the assault, the girl was said to be shunned by her parents for being attacked.
The 14-year-old boy, Steven Tuopeh, was charged as an adult and is awaiting further legal action.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced yesterday that he wants to charge the 13-year-old as an adult, as well. Thomas says his office filed a motion to have the case of the 13-year-old attacker moved to an adult court, and is awaiting permission to move forward.
Joseph Ramiro-Shanahan, attorney for the 13-year-old, says he hasn't seen the motion and can't comment, but tells the Associated Press that he thinks a juvenile court should take a careful look at the competency of his client before handing over the boy to an adult court.
"He has no idea what his attorney does, no idea of what a prosecutor is, no idea what a judge is," Ramiro-Shanahan says. "He can't assist his own defense at this time."