Cops: Trenton 7-year-old gang raped after 15-year-old sister pimps her out
Police said they believe the older sibling was paid for having sex with multiple partners Sunday night during a party at the troubled Rowan Towers apartment complex, and that she then sold her sister to others at the party.
Police said they believe the younger girl was raped by five to seven individuals, who held the girl against her will and threatened to kill her if she screamed or if she later told anyone about what happened.
Capt. Joe Juniak, commander of the department’s Criminal Investigations Bureau, said he expects there to be many arrests in the case and he expects them imminently.
“The things that took place in there were just horrid,” Juniak said. “Anyone can imagine, especially those who have kids...to allow someone to do that to a 7-year-old is just beyond comprehension.”
Juniak noted that the girls were not full-blooded sisters. He said they were either half-sisters or stepsisters, but whatever the case, they were still raised as sisters.
Juniak said police were initially called by the girls’ family because they believed the 15-year-old had run away from home and that she took the younger girl with her. He said the 15-year-old had exhibited some behavior problems in the past.
Police officers were at the family’s home that night, after 9 p.m., when the 7-year-old returned without her older sister, and she told her mother that she had been raped, Juniak said. Police later located the 15-year-old, who relayed the same details regarding what had happened at the party, and she was arrested and charged.
Juniak said the party took place in a 13th-floor apartment in the complex at 620 West State St., where the 15-year-old met up with a couple of male acquaintances. He said the older sister then had sex with several party-goers for money in a bedroom, while leaving the younger girl unattended in the living room.
At some point, Juniak said, the older sister visited the 7-year-old in the living room and handed her a wad of money, telling her to let the assembled males have sex with her.
“She tells the sister, ‘Let the boys do what they want to do,’” Juniak said.
Juniak said the older girl promoted and watched the acts perpetrated upon her sister.
After the assaults, Juniak said, the 7-year-old got dressed and left the party, while her older sister stayed behind. Two unidentified individuals found the young girl crying outside, and they took her to her home nearby on West State Street, where police had already gathered.
The Rowan Towers complex has been the center of controversy lately, with an increasing number of violent crimes reported there.
Juniak said investigators have identified the apartment used during the party and the person listed as the renter of the unit. But he said that it doesn’t appear the individual was there at the time or that he had any knowledge of what occurred at the party.
Juniak said the tenant is in the process of being evicted from the apartment, which appears to already have been at least partially vacated.
“Individuals within that building have knowledge of what apartments are vacant, and they will gain access to those apartments and utilize them for drinking, partying or whatever else,” Juniak said. “That’s what we believe happened in this instance.”
The 15-year-old sister has been charged with complicity in an aggravated sexual assault, criminal restraint, terroristic threats, endangering the welfare of a child, and promoting prostitution. She was held in the Mercer County Youth Detention Center.
Trenton detectives are working with investigators from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, and the state Division of Youth and Family Services is involved with the case.
Juniak said there appear to have been 12 to 15 people at the party throughout the night, and detectives are searching for anyone who may have been there. He said charges could be brought against everyone, not just those physically involved with the rape of the 7-year-old.
Anyone who was there could be charged for allowing it to happen, and any adults who had sex with the 15-year-old will be prosecuted for rape because of the girl’s age, Juniak said.
“We’re going to identify everyone who was in that apartment,” he said.
Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer, who has a 7-year-old daughter, called The Trentonian last night to express his outrage and to make a plea for the public’s help.
“I am just sick,” Palmer said. “Citizens have got to come forth if they have any information. If you ever wanted to get involved ... if there is nothing that will get your conscience to say ‘I have to step up,’ if it’s not this, then I don’t know what you’re waiting for.
“Police are working triple-overtime and not leaving any stone unturned to get justice for this innocent angel, but we need the people’s help.”
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