Three teenage boys, ages 13, 14, and 17, have been arrested and are being accused of gang raping a 15-year-old girl in a backyard shed on the grounds of her own home last week and then posting images and video of the attack on Snapchat. The crime reportedly occurred in Lakebay, Washington. All of the juveniles were apparently present at a party on the property of the girl’s home, where all had been consuming alcohol and where the victim later passed out. The incident is said to have taken place over the span of Sunday night to early Monday morning.
According to Local 12 WKRC Cincinnati, after the victim lost consciousness the boys tied her up with a cord and then took turns repeatedly sexually assaulting her while taking pictures and making video to put up on Snapchat, a social media outlet known for making any media posted to it disappear within a few seconds. They sent the images over Snapchat to friends of the victim’s sister. The victim’s sister witnessed portions of the attacks as she was hiding in a part of the shed where the incident took place.
Pierce County Detective Ed Troyer commented on the disturbing nature of the crime.
“Not only is this brutal, but the fact that they actually filmed it on their phones and then used a social medial outlet to distribute it is even more disturbing.”
ABC 7 News reports that the victim’s sister’s cell phone was used to record some of the images and videos. In fact, her phone was used to send the same images and videos over Snapchat to her own friends.
Police say that the victim’s mother was unaware that anything had happened because she was in the main house at the time. She later discovered that the crime had taken place when she went out to the shed a few hours later and found her daughter bloody and partially nude. The victim also had burn marks on her body from a lighter.
— Snapchat Top News (@SnapchatTopNews) March 19, 2016
Police documents indicate that the alleged attackers were even bold enough to admit what they had done to the victim’s sister, who could be heard saying”no” in the background of the videos.
Q13 Fox News adds that several teenage boys were present in the shed along with the victim and her younger sister when the incident occurred. Multiple teenage boys are said to have tied her up with the electrical cord and then they dragged her around the shed before she was sexually assaulted. The victim’s younger sister had to hide in another area of the shed in order to avoid becoming a victim also.
The sheriff’s office has confirmed that even though Snapchat postings “disappear” after being viewed that they still have a way of retrieving them as evidence.
Detectives on the case have issued a warning to anyone who viewed the postings – they are considered to be child pornography under the law, and anyone forwarding them to others for viewing has the potential to be arrested and charged.
The three accused attackers made their first appearances in juvenile court on Friday. Their names are being withheld due to their ages. Due to the serious nature of the allegations, all three are being held without bail until their next court appearance on Tuesday.
Detective Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department issued a stern warning to parents.
“Parents really need to be aware of the different applications and apps that are out there that can do this kind of thing. Teenagers are really good at hiding text messages, pictures, and videos. This is an example of it.”
A 20-year-old man heard talking in the Snapchat videos was also arrested on an outstanding warrant charge for child rape issued out of Mason County.
Police say that more arrests may be forthcoming as the investigation continues.