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
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
"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.