Posted on November 18, 2011

3 Boys Admit Guilt in Cleveland Gang Rape of 11-Year-Old

Cindy Horswell, Houston Chronicle, November 16, 2011

A year after Cleveland was rocked by allegations that an 11-year-old girl was gang-raped by 20 boys and men, the first admissions of guilt by three suspects this week could help this small timber town heal from a divisive scandal that seized national attention.

Three boys, who were 14 to 16 years old at the time the sixth-grade girl was assaulted, have admitted their part in the scandal in plea agreements presented to Liberty County court-at-law Judge Tommy Chambers.

{snip} The remaining suspects continue to await trial, including three more juveniles and 14 adults, ages 18 to 27.

“I’m so glad to hear (about the admissions),” said the victim’s mother, Maria, whose name is being withheld by the Houston Chronicle to protect her family’s identity. “Not only for my 11-year-old, but for other children who have gone through this, too.”

The mother, who relocated to a safe house outside Liberty County after the allegations became widespread, wants to see “justice done,” but is concerned about putting her daughter through the stress of criminal proceedings.


Revelations that the girl was allegedly raped by multiple men or boys on at least four occasions over a three-month period beginning last fall fueled outrage and controversy in the town of 8,000 residents. Explicit videos of the sexual incidents were recorded on cell phones and passed around the Cleveland schools.

A Cleveland police officer’s sworn affidavit described one encounter where the 11-year-old went “riding around” with two of the defendants and wound up at a house where she was ordered to disrobe. If she refused, the affidavit said, she was warned that other girls would “beat her up” and she would never be given a ride home.

During this interlude, one of defendants called four others who joined in the assault, which later moved to a vacant trailer.

The incident was further inflamed when Houston community activist Quanell X, flanked by bodyguards, held a rally in Cleveland at which he questioned the handling of the investigation. While saying he wanted the guilty punished, he said he also wanted to make sure “someone with a malicious racist motive was not trying to rid your community of a generation of black men.”

All of the defendants in the case are black, while the victim is Hispanic.


Attorneys representing the defendants contend the girl was sometimes a willing participant, but law enforcement says there is no excuse for anyone to have sexual relations with a child.