18 Busted in Rape of Texas Girl, 11

Cops discover crime when rape videos are passed around Texas town
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Mar 9, 2011 12:01 AM CST
Trash sits outside an abandoned trailer in Cleveland, Texas, where authorities say an 11-year-old girl was repeatedly sexually assaulted.   (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

(Newser) – Eighteen men and teens have been arrested in the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in Texas. The victim told police that as many as 20 males attacked her, and the assaults were videotaped on cell phones by some of her attackers, Cleveland police say. Investigators first learned of the attacks when a classmate of the victim told school officials about cellphone videos. The sixth-grader was lured to the crime spot by a teenager who asked if she wanted to go "riding around" last Thanksgiving, reports the Houston Chronicle. She was forced to strip and attacked, then taken to an abandoned trailer where she was again assaulted, police said.

Seven of those charged in the attack are high school students, including members of the basketball team. Those arrested range in age from middle school to 27. "These guys knew she was in middle school," said the girl's mother. "She still loves stuffed teddy bears." A lawyer for three defendants indicated the girl willingly had sex, saying: "This is not a case of a child who was enslaved or taken advantage of." Police have removed the girl to a "safe house" foster home and have suggested that she and her family relocate because of mounting tensions over the case in the town of 9,000. For Jezebel's takedown of media coverage of the case, click here.

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