County Attorney Wants Second Liberian Boy Charged as Adult in Rape of Little Girl

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. 

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."

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James King
Contact: James King