Three Chicago teens were charged as adults for the aggravated sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl and posting the video to Facebook. The attack happened last year, but the boys were just now sentenced for their actions.
Justin Applewhite, 16, Kenneth Brown, 15, and Scandale Fritz, 16, were each charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault. Judge James Brown ordered that the boys be held on $900,000 bond each. They stand accused of raping a 12-year-old girl, filming the entire incident, then posting it to Facebook.
According to court documents, the victim walked to Fritz's home; the boy led her downstairs to his basement then raped her. Applewhite and Brown then joined their friend and took turns assaulting her. The boys, the victim said, scared her because they were all in a gang, and she did not put up much of a fight because Brown had a gun and she was afraid he would shoot her.
The girl "knew that all three defendants were gang members of the Black Disciples faction 'Tay-Town' and was fearful that [Brown] would shoot her," Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Bridget O'Brien told DNAinfo.
Brown has a juvenile criminal record that includes use of an unauthorized weapon in 2012. He is still on probation.
Fritz videotaped the entire ordeal and, at one point, turned the camera on himself. The court was able to see his face clearly, proving his involvement. All three could be heard changing gang slogans, court documents stated.
The very next day, the girl went to police, filed a report, and then went to the hospital. Two days later, video of the attack was posted on Brown's Facebook page for all to see. The video later appeared on Fritz and Applewhite's Facebook pages as well. Fritz gave the court a statement about his involvement, but the other boys have not.
"We work with law enforcement to the extent required by law, and as needed to keep the site and those who use it safe. We devote significant resources evaluating requests for user information, and adhere to the letter of these laws when responding to requests for information," a Facebook spokesman told Fox 32 News.
The case is similar to that of a young woman in Steubenville, Ohio. Two men were found guilty of rape and assault and sentenced to two years behind bars. In that case, the two men were charged and sentenced as juveniles, not adults. The three Chicago suspects could receive harsh sentences for their behavior.