I watch quite a few American comedy shows and, being British, there are a few little jokes that I don’t understand. One of them is the almost universal loathing of New Jersey that these shows have. I’ve learned to appreciate the jokes by imagining they’re talking about a pit of a town I’m aware of over here, but I never understood how New Jersey got such a bad reputation to start off with. Whatever happened, this story wont improve that reputation.
On March 28th the residents of the Rowan Towers apartment building in Trenton, New Jersey gathered for a party. It was the usual affair for people of that age group (early teens through to mid twenties) complete with banging music, drink, some drugs… and prostitution. One of the party-goers, a fifteen year old girl who cannot be named due to her age, arrived at the party and started selling sex to the guys in the apartment. How horrific is it that we live in a world where a girl that young can go to a party in the apartment building where she lives with her parents and openly sell sexual favours? Unfortunately that’s not the shocking thing about this story. You see, the girl had her seven year old stepsister with her and, when one of her customers offered her money so that he could touch the child, the teenager readily agreed. The touching got out of hand (for want of a better expression for such a vile act) and the man started to force sex on the distressed child while her teenaged sister looked on. This escalated until the seven year old girl was gang-raped as a floorshow for the party by “at least” seven men. By this point the teenager had tried to protest, presumably because only one guy had paid to ruin her little sister’s life and she was losing money on the deal.
So far the teenaged sister has been arrested for child endangerment and prostitution almost immediately following the incident. Gregory Leary (twenty years old) was charged on Wednesday for statutory rape after having sex with the fifteen year old and is now facing further charges of child endangerment and aggravated sexual assault. Four other males aged thirteen, fourteen, seventeen (none of which can be named due to their ages), and nineteen (Tiemear Lewis) have been arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault and child endangerment on Saturday. More arrests are expected over the coming weeks. Doug Palmer, the mayor of Trenton has given the victim’s family every possible aid from his office to get them out of the area for their own safety following threats to their safety from the families of those arrested and some vigilantes.
And here comes the truly heartbreaking part of it all: That seven year old girl was only present at the party because she was worried about her sister’s safety.