Horrific news abounds this morning. The kind that may make you feel like the world is going to hell in a handbasket! Really, I'm not sure what other conclusion to draw from this nightmarish gang-rape story out of Philadelphia. Police there have arrested five teenagers accused of raping a 12-year-old girl at a busy city recreation center.
The girl told police that she was approached Monday night by the boys, who started talking to her at the rec center, where line dancing and basketball was being held. Investigators say the teens then lured the girl to an upstairs stairwell and attacked her.
Not long after, a staff member saw several boys running from the area and went to the stairwell only to find the distraught girl. Sounds like we've got a witness right there to help make sure these boys, if found guilty, face severe consequences.
The suspects can't be identified, of course, because they're all 14 or 15 years old and considered juveniles. But police say four of the five have been charged with rape, simple assault, and other offenses, while the fifth -- arrested yesterday -- has not yet been charged.
Of course further investigation needs to take place before any sentencing can be decided, but if and when this "alleged" incident becomes a conclusive one, these teens cannot be punished as if they were little kids. Whether we as a society want to admit it, it seems like 14 or 15 can't be considered as young as it used to be. Upsettingly, this is definitely not the first story of its kind in recent years. So, I just can't imagine that these teens thought what they were doing was in any way less than completely sick and wrong.
If found guilty, these teens belong in a juvenile detention center for a good few years and must do major psychological work. The court that ends up judging this case needs to send a message that rape in any instance is an extremely serious offense with extremely serious consequences. And it simply will NOT be tolerated, even in these twisted cases where the heinous act is committed by kids.
What kind of punishment do you believe these boys should face if found guilty?
Image via Dockslandboy/Flickr