After months of "continuous sexual abuse," an 11-year-old girl gave birth on Thursday in what Houston prosecutors say is the worst case of child sexual abuse they have seen in years.
Her abuser is 21-year-old Deandre Devon Davis-Williams, a cousin of the young victim who would allegedly sneak into the girl's apartment while her mother was working two jobs and forcibly sexually assault her. The abuse occurred continuously from about June 1, 2012 to January 1.
The victim's mother learned her daughter was pregnant only two months ago, when she was seven months along, after her school called and shared their suspicions. In disbelief, the mother purchased a pregnancy test for her daughter and, after explaining how to use it, the victim broke down and explained what was going on.
When the mother contacted the suspect, he texted the victim threatening to kill himself because she told on him.
Sara Marie Kinney, a spokeswoman for the district attorney, said she does not blame the mother for not knowing her daughter was pregnant.
"It's not a normal pregnancy because it's an 11-year-old with an underdeveloped body," she said. "Not only that, but if you have a kid and she's gaining weight or she doesn't feel good, she's 11, so you don't even go there in your mind."
She added that higher-level offenses like this "are far and few between than just the average sexual assault. You have these bad guys out there, but this one is extra sick."
Davis-Williams was arrested and charged with continuous sexual assault of a child, which carries up to a life sentence in the state of Texas. He did not enter a plea in his Thursday court appearance and has not yet been sentenced, though his bail was increased from $50,000 to $150,000.
A spokeswoman for Texas Child Protective services did not confirm or deny whether CPS was involved in this case, but did comment on its severity.
"In many cases like this, the victims usually know their perpetrators, who have easy access of contact with the victims without it being suspicious to anyone," she said. "In many cases, the victims know them, love them and trust them. They gain their trust, and then have them keep the secret."
Rania Mankarious, executive director of Crime Stoppers, stressed to parents that maintaining an open line of communication with their children is extremely important. She added that children should not have to assume judgment when speaking to their parents about anything and that they should not expect to be punished.
But with equally established evidence that children know and trust their abusers, it is no surprise that only one in 10 children tell someone about their abuse. Rather than overtly focusing on parent-child communication, we must tell people not to abuse children before it even enters their minds.