April 1st, 2010
10:14 PM ET

Arrest made in New Jersey child rape case

Police have made the first of what they anticipate to be several arrests of men in the case of a 15-year old girl who allegedly allowed men to have sex with her and her 7-year old sister for money. Authorities been under immense pressure to make arrests in the case that has outraged the Trenton community. A 20-year-old Trenton man was arrested and charged in the case Wednesday night.

Early Thursday morning, police conducted a raid at Rowan Towers, the public housing apartments where the assault occurred, and arrested 27 men and women on outstanding warrants from unrelated cases. Some residents were upset and frightened by the raid, but told CNN that it was time police started paying attention to the building.

An elderly female resident who did not want to be identified said, "There's no security inside this building as far as I'm concerned. If you were patrolling these hallways every so often, this thing wouldn't have happened. It's disgusting that this little girl had to go through what she went through."

Another neighbor who described Rowan Towers and the surrounding neighborhood as "really tough" said she has been on alert since the attack. "It made me wary. Very, very wary, and concerned about once my children are older, who I'll allow them to be around or if I even feel safe letting them out of my
sight."

Trenton City Councilwoman Annette Lartigue, who represents the district including the apartments, said despite their fears and usual hesitation to cooperate with police, she believes members of the community will rally around the 7-year old victim and come forward with any information that will help
police.

"Nobody accepts this and nobody protects those who are (involved) in this under any circumstances," Lartigue said, "They are absolutely not interested in protecting anyone but that child. Period."

Several Rowan Towers residents told CNN that the empty apartment where the attack occurred, was well known as a place "where trouble happened." One elderly female resident said groups of young men and women would go there and hold drug and alcohol-fueled parties "at all hours of the night."

Police believe that as many as seven men and boys, ranging in age from 15-23, paid for sex with the 15-year-old and her sister during a party Sunday night.

Officials say the 15-year-old was baby-sitting her younger sister Sunday afternoon when she encountered two males who invited her to "hang out" with them. She agreed and brought her sister along to an apartment.

The 15-year-old first agreed to have sex with the men for money, police Capt. Joseph Juniak said. She then gave the men permission to "touch" the 7-year-old, he said, adding that it's likely the 15-year-old gave the
7-year-old some of the money she had received.

Molestation of the 7-year-old "quickly escalated to rape," Juniak said. The men held her down and said they would kill her if she screamed, he said.

The 7-year-old was found by two women after leaving the building, who escorted her home, according to police.

The older girl is charged with aggravated sexual assault, criminal restraint, endangering the welfare of a child, and promoting prostitution, police said.

Gregory Joseph Leary, 20, of Trenton, was arrested Wednesday night and charged with aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, according to Trenton police.

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Filed under: Justice • U.S.
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Let me just say I hope the baby gets what she needs and the parents help her in every way. secondly i see all you bleeding hearts saying capital punishment is not right blah blah blah put them in jail.....why for what reason? rehab? so the prisoners will do it for us? say your right it wont solve the problem ppl will be evil till the world ends but if we convict someone of rapeing a child and execute him/her that will be one less person that will get out of jail and do it again your right it wont stop new ppl from doing it but every single child rapeist that we exicute will be one less in the world and we wont have to pay millions od dollars of tax payer money to keep them in prison and that money can be used to pay for more police officers to help the ones that are already over worked....see how that works? not spending money needlessly one housing and feeding a prisoner for life but use it for something that will help make life better for the people. I do not think we should kill ppl all willy nilly but in cases of murder...human trafficking and the rape of a child there is no doubt in my mind that if you are convicted you should be exicuted period.

    April 2, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. AP

    Why is this surprising to anyone? Just take a look at MOST of the things we promote, whether directly ro indirectly. The morality of our society is at an all-time low. Once upon a time it was taboo and shameful to publicly do or say some things, but the desire for money, fame, and acceptance has changed the the game.

    This terrible act is just the surface of the real problem.

    April 2, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Tony Memphis

    I TOTALLY agree with Teremist. These types of crimes against children should receive the maximum penalty punishable by law...either life imprisonment or the death penalty.

    April 2, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. thebaldwin

    Only in America? Really? Perhaps you should read more news. While depressing and wholly unacceptable, at least in America there will be some form of reckoning for these crimes and at the very least people care. America doesn't have a monopoly on crimes against children/women. There are active genocides taking place in other countries right now where 100s of women/children are being tortured, raped and killed a day and simply put there is no agency in place to find any form of justice.

    The complexities of this situation can't be broken down in a 5 paragraph news blurb. Death/castration/life in prison sadly can't undo what was done. I'll never be understand the thought process of the men/sister in this story. However I do understand that no matter who's in office, what color, religion, poverty level, or penalty is available things like this will happen because some people are simply cruel and lack any understanding of consequence or empathy. Outrage at the situation is completely justifiable. I don't understand the political posturing and anti-american rhetoric. It seems downright myopic. Do we have to use every opportunity to filter everything through racial/political rhetoric?

    Can't we all agree this is terrible and hope these p.o.s people are taken off the street and urge anyone who has any information to cooperate with the cops to make sure not one person who allowed this to happen gets to walk away unscathed?

    April 2, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. butter

    What has happened here is a terrible ordeal for everyone. The Sister has much to be blamed for but she too is a victim, however she should not be let free without treatment herself. My heart goes out to the innocent who has been victimized and setup by her own blood. Men are pigs and will take advantage when given the opportunity never mind when they force themselves upon others and just take whats not theirs to begin with. We ask, where was the parent (parents), we can America's government for making life so impossible to live that it takes 2-3 jobs just pay off your montly bills and not being to invest nothing. The more time parents are forced to work the less time they get to pay their children regardless of race, crees or color or social status. I can't see any parent being too pleased with this, and as the parent (s) going through it now they must be heart broken. Gov't needs to step in bring back family bonding, this age is focus on material aspects of life or slaving yourself just feed your family (however small or big). Parents teach your children right from wrong and teach them of the warning signs of something alarming, teach them to be responsible and stand up for what is right. The true criminals are the ones that actually took her innocence. GOD Help us all. This will not be last case we hear of, as things America becomes worse, more families are forced to make choices that will forever affect them and their family in the long haul.

    April 2, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. ann m mccollough

    I hope the criminals will be punished for waht they did to the children. I hope the little seven year can go right into therapy and get the help that she needs for her pain and suffering that she received through this ordeal. My sincere Prayers are with both children.Believe it or not but both children needs a big Hug for what they have gone through and the seven year old needs a lot of HUGS AND KISSES. Only time and love can heal what both children has endured. Children needs to find out what the true meaning of sex is and what love is and not get the two mixed up and confused. MAY GOD BE WITH THEM THROUGHOUT THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

    April 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bee

    This is what poverty does. Parents must work to provide for the family, thus, their absence lack the guidance that these children need. It is sad to read news about little children being molested. I hope that these children will get all the help they need, esp. the seven year old girl, or she'll one day end up becoming one of society's parasite.

    April 3, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
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