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Response to NYTimes Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town --

This story has had me shaking with anger for the last couple of days. I can't believe this town is looking at this 11-year-old girl who may have been assaulted by as many as 28 teen boys and men in an abandoned house and trailer and saying she was asking for it. At 11?! 11!? If it's forced sexual contact, it's rape. Period! And OMG, as a friend and I were discussing, who FILMS such a thing?! This is the stuff nightmares are made of. And apparently there's pictures, too. All this has floated among the student bodies of the middle school the girl and one of the boys attends and the high school that four of the boys attend on their cell phones for months.



The NY Times article is an overview because the situation is much worse than reported there. At least the AP version of the story had more balance as far as the quotes were concerned, both the foolish and the sensible:

"Maturity or not I'm pretty sure she knew what she was doing," Robin Smith, 24, a cashier in Cleveland, said as she shopped this week.

...


"She's 11 years old. It shouldn't have happened. That's a child," said Oscar Carter, 56, who is related to an uncle of one 16-year-old charged in the case. "Somebody should have said what we are doing is wrong."


The mother was quoted there, saying that the Texas Dept of Children and Family Services had removed the child and put her in foster care. Meanwhile, it's a small town, everyone knows her, so the mother is getting death threats by phone.

But you want to really get mad, see the local Houston Chronicle story, which gives a fuller account and shows what that girl and her family are up against. There's this from the attorney of several of the guys arrested -- which was quickly disavowed by his colleagues:

The attorney, James D. Evans III, has claimed to Houston Chronicle reporter Cindy Horswell that the victim was "seeking attention" and "she wants to be a porn star."

"This is not a case of a child who was enslaved or taken advantage of," Evans was quoted saying in a story Sunday.

It is not uncommon for those accused of rape to try and insinuate their victims somehow led them on to commit an act of sexual violence. Her skirt was too short. She was flirtatious. She said no, but she meant yes.

It's a revolting strategy, and it sometimes works. But to insinuate such a thing in the alleged gang rape of a child is beyond the pale.

Even some of Evans' fellow veteran defense attorneys, who make a living defending people accused of heinous crimes, were shocked at his comments.

"Jesus," said Patrick McCann, former president of the Harris County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. "That ain't the way to approach this."

The Chronicle explains why there's been death threats; because "among the alleged rapists, there appeared to be two star Cleveland High School basketball players" and then there's also "a school board member's son."

And then there's the racial ticking time bomb mentioned only in this story, that "the victim is Hispanic while all of her alleged attackers are black."

The stuff nightmares are made of!