Some in Texas Town Blaming Young Girl in Assault

Juan A. Lozano, Houston Chronicle, March 11, 2011

A meeting Thursday night that was billed as a way to discuss concerns some have about the investigation into a series of alleged sexual assaults on an 11-year-old girl turned into a forum that many used to blame the girl police contend is the victim of heinous attacks.

Many who attended the meeting said they supported the group of men and boys who have been charged in the case. Supporters didn’t claim that the men and boys did not have sex with the young girl; instead they blamed the girl for the way she dressed or claimed she must have lied about her age–accusations that have drawn strong responses from those who note an 11-year-old cannot consent to sex and that it doesn’t matter how she was dressed.

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Police say the girl was sexually assaulted during several attacks last year. Authorities have arrested 18 people, including two of Cleveland’s star high school athletes and adults with criminal records. {snip}

Thursday’s meeting was led by Quanell X, an activist prominent in Houston’s black community. He told the audience of more than 130 people who had packed a small community center that the gathering’s goal was not to criticize the girl but to question the investigation by police, although he did question why she didn’t report the attack to authorities herself.

“I did not come here this evening to jump on an 11-year-old girl,” he said.

The activist, who was invited to speak by a local pastor, said he was concerned that only young black men had been arrested. He said he believed some of those arrested were guilty but that others were not. He told those in attendance that if they were questioned by police about the case that they should only talk to police with a lawyer present.

During the meeting, Quanell X also asked people to donate money to the defense funds for two of those arrested in the case.

After the meeting, many in attendance told reporters that the girl had consented to the sex.

“She lied about her age. Them boys didn’t rape her. She wanted this to happen. I’m not taking nobody’s side, but if she hadn’t put herself in that predicament, this would have never happened,” said Angie Woods, who lives in Houston but grew up in Cleveland.

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[Earlier stories about this rape are listed here.]

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