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Arizona Police Officer Describes Rape of 8-Year-Old Liberian Girl as a Tragedy

The 14-year-old Liberian refugee boy who together with three other children raped an 8-year-old Liberian girl earlier this month in Phoenix, Arizona is awaiting trial after being charged as an adult.

The case generated enormous international outrage after it was reported that the little girl’s parents and relatives blamed her for bringing shame to the family.

Even Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has had to step in to say that the 8-year-old girl’s parents were wrong for blaming her.

Phoenix Police Officer Sergeant Andy Hill who investigated the initial rape allegations said it was one of the most horrific cases he has ever seen.

“At this point the Phoenix Police Department’s job in this investigation is pretty much done for now. We have turned everything over to the Maricopa County attorney’s office which is the prosecuting authority. And we did that after we detained the four suspects in this case,” he said.

Hill said police investigators still have some work to do on the case, including completing their forensic analysis.

In published reports, the police said the boys lured the girl to an empty shed on July 16 under the pretense of offering her gum. They then held the girl down while they took turns assaulting her.

Officer Hill described the case as a horrible tragedy.

“We have an 8-year-old girl who was victimized. We have four children who were arrested with charges involving sexual assault and kidnapping in this case. And at this point for law enforcement, we have to go over the facts which we have done,” Hill said.

He said the nature of the case rises to international level because it involves an alleged child victim and alleged child perpetrators.

Sergeant Hill confirmed the 14-year-old was charged as an adult with two counts of sexual assault and kidnapping while the other boys – ages 9, 10 and 13 – were charged as juveniles with sexual assault.

“One of the suspects has been charged as an adult by the Maricopa County attorney’s office. And that was the result of them reviewing the information. So that is something that the prosecutors decide on,” Hill said.

He said his investigation found that the family had blamed and shunned the 8-year-old girl for bringing shame to the family.

“I don’t know what the traditions are and I would not try to speak to cultural traditions. But what I can speak to is what happened in this incident. And in this particular incident the family said they were ashamed of their child and they were not supportive of her. They blamed the little girl for what happened, and as a result of that Child Protective Services took the action that they did,” Hill said.

In a phone interview on CNN last week, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf disagreed with the parents of the 8-year-old victim.

She said rape is a crime that is no longer acceptable in Liberia and that perpetrators, when caught, are punished severely.