14-year-old arrested, charged after broadcasting sexual assault on Facebook Live

14-year-old arrested, charged after broadcasting sexual assault on Facebook Live
Source: AP
Source: AP

A 14-year-old boy was arrested after participating in the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl, which was broadcast on Facebook live March 19. Chicago police are looking for as many as five other boys who were featured in the video, CNN reported. 

The suspect police have in custody faces charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault and manufacturing and disseminating child pornography. The victim has reportedly been harassed and bullied since the incident, which at least 40 people watched online. None of those viewers called the police, though.

The victim went missing on March 19. Her mother saw the live stream and brought screen shots to the police the following day. 

"I didn't really want to look at it that much, but from what I saw, they were pouring stuff on her and just the way she — her face, she was so scared," the girl's mother told CNN.

In a statement to the BBC, a Facebook spokesperson said "crimes like this are hideous" and absolutely not allowed on the platform. 

"We take our responsibility to keep people safe on Facebook very seriously and will remove videos that depict sexual assault and are shared to glorify violence," the statement read.

It's not the first time a sexual assault has been broadcast via Facebook Live, however. In January, Swedish authorities arrested three men who raped a woman and live-streamed it. The difference there was that one person who saw it called the police. But that same month, four people in Chicago were arrested after broadcasting their brutal attack of a mentally disabled man. Ultimately, Facebook can take videos down after the fact, but it hasn't done much to keep them from being posted in the first place. 

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Claire Lampen

Claire is a staff writer at Mic who covers women's issues and reproductive rights. She is based in New York and can be reached at claire@mic.com.

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