She is a 15-year-old honors English student, attends church three times a week, and has a long-distance boyfriend. She chose a sparkly purple gown and silver shoes to wear to her homecoming dance, which she had looked forward to for weeks. She and close friend Kami Baker, 16, walked into the dance together, no doubt expecting a fun night filled with music and friends.
Before the night would end, the 15-year-old would be in the hospital, victim of a horrific 2½-hour gang rape by as many as 10 young men. While the rape went on, a group of bystanders apparently watched, cheered and took cell phone photos and video. The victim was left half-naked and unconscious, found by police only because another teenage girl heard two young men bragging about the crime.
Instant attention was focused on the school, the security, the community. The most blistering criticism has been leveled toward those who stood by and watched as the crime took place. We simply can't understand how fellow humans could stand by and watch this young girl be brutalized.
There have been some developments. Thursday evening, police made a sixth arrest in the crime, an 18-year-old man. He was being held on $1.3 million bail. Four other teens were arraigned in open court Thursday, all wearing bulletproof vests – they are 15, 16, 17 and 19. A 21-year-old has also been arrested, and investigation is ongoing.
The victim has been able to leave the hospital and go home. Students – including Baker –