Chicago police have arrested a 14-year-old who is suspected of participating in the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl that was streamed live on Facebook.
The teen was taken into custody Saturday night and is one of several juveniles suspected to have been involved in the alleged attack, Chicago police said. He is facing felony charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault, manufacturing of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography, Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the police department, told the AP.
The arrest comes about two weeks after the girl’s family and friends said they witnessed her attack by several males on Facebook Live. Her family told police that as many as 40 people watched the video without calling 911.
Police said that the attack involved five or six males and that more arrests are expected, according to the AP.
Her family reported her missing on March 19, The Washington Post’s Peter Holley reported; the girl was later found and taken to a hospital. Police became aware of the incident after the girl’s mother approached Superintendent Eddie Johnson and showed him the video. Afterward, the girl began receiving threats online and neighborhood kids came to their home looking for the teen, her mother told the AP.
The Post typically does not name victims of sexual assault. Police did not release the teen suspect’s name.
Johnson is expected to release more details at a news conference Sunday.
This is the second time in less than six months that Chicago police have investigated an alleged attack broadcast live on Facebook.
In January, a group of young African-Americans was charged with hate crimes after police say a Facebook Live video showed the youths assaulting a mentally disabled 18-year-old while shouting obscenities about President Donald Trump and white people.
The teen, who is white, can be seen sitting in a corner, his wrists and neck bound with orange bands and his mouth taped shut, The Post’s Mark Berman and Derek Hawkins reported. A young woman filmed as the others slapped, punch and taunted the 18-year-old, according to police. One of the young men can be seen cutting the victim’s hair and scalp with a knife.
In December, a Georgia teenager hanged herself and broadcast her suicide on a streaming app called Live.me. The 40-minute video, which showed the girl talking about being sexually assaulted by a family member, appeared on various sites, including Facebook and YouTube. Both sites have taken the video down, but according to media reports, versions of the video lingered on Facebook for nearly two weeks.
In July, Facebook acknowledged that while live video can be a powerful tool to document events, sharing – and allowing – videos on the platform must be done responsibly.