Robert Snell, Charles E. Ramirez and Edward L. Cardenas, Detroit News, February 15, 2007
If five Macomb County teens who took turns having sex with a neighborhood girl didn’t know she was 11 then, they knew when they were done, police say.
“They asked” before they left the house, Eastpointe Detective Lt. Leo Borowsky said Wednesday. Police say they recorded the act on a cell phone.
Now, the teens could face up to life in prison if convicted of raping the girl in the basement of an Eastpointe home. The 10-second cell phone video clip, which no longer exists, was passed around the girl’s neighborhood until her mother heard about it and reported it to police.
The five suspects, ages 15-19, are charged as adults. They are scheduled to appear for a March 8 pretrial hearing.
Police say the girl was not threatened in the assault they say happened in June. But she felt coerced and intimidated into complying, police say. The legal age for consensual sex in Michigan is 16.
“The sad thing is she was raped by these five men repeatedly. They took turns and coerced her and forced her into this,” Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said of the nearly hour-long assault. “It is a horrific case. It sickens me to see this.”
After seeing the footage on her cell phone—which showed the 11-year-old naked from the waist down on top of one of the suspects—neighbor Caprice Greene said she was confused.
Besides Pope, the others charged are Reginald Robinson Brown, 19, of Clinton Township, Careese Adams-Johnson, 16, of Warren, 15-year-old Derrick McGuire of Roseville and 16-year-old Jonathon Powell of Eastpointe.
Brown has been in trouble with the law before. According to circuit court records, he pleaded guilty last year to two counts of carrying a concealed weapon and is serving one year in the Macomb County Jail.
Police say it all started June 15 when the girl was chasing her dog near the Collinson house in Eastpointe. Someone invited her inside the house.
“They weren’t strangers, and they all knew each other from the neighborhood,” Borowsky said. “We’re not sure what the group said to her to entice her to joining them in the house. All she would say was they invited her in.”
Members of the group then took turns having sex with the young girl, according to police.
Though the 10-second phone clip is gone, prosecutors are undaunted. Smith said unlike computers where items can sometimes be recovered after they are deleted, deleted items on cell phones do not last as long.
“When you see five young men take advantage of an 11-year-old girl,” Smith said, “it is our job to make sure they pay for it.”