Mom: Daughter afraid to come home after Chicago attack
Chicago — The mother of a 15-year-old girl who authorities say was sexually assaulted in an attack streamed live on Facebook said Wednesday that her daughter has received online threats since it happened and that neighborhood kids have been joking about it and harassing her family.
The woman was reunited with her daughter on Tuesday, two days after the girl went missing and a day after police learned of the attack. She said her daughter is staying with a relative and is scared to come home, and that she shares that fear.
“This is just disturbing and to think the kids think it is funny,” the mother, 32, told the Associated Press. The AP isn’t naming her to protect the identity of her daughter.
She said that since the attack, people have threatened on Facebook that “they are going to get her” daughter and that neighborhood children have been laughing about the incident and ringing the family’s doorbell looking for the girl. She said she’s shocked by the callousness people have shown since the attack, which was viewed live by about 40 people on Facebook Live — none of whom reported it to the police.
“I can’t stay here,” she said of Lawndale, the West Side neighborhood where her family lives. “I have other kids, too. I let them walk to school and now I have to take them.”
Police have questioned several people but haven’t named any formal suspects or made any arrests in the attack, which involved five or six men or boys, said department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. He said the girl knows at least one of her attackers and that investigators are making good progress identifying those involved. He also said investigators have begun looking into the mother’s claims about the threats and harassment, and that the head of the police department, Superintendent Eddie Johnson, reached out to the family to check on their wellbeing.
Police only learned of the attack on Monday afternoon, the day after the girl went missing. Her mother went to a Lawndale police station and filled out a missing person report, then spotted Johnson outside the station and approached him. She told him her daughter had been missing since Sunday and showed him screen grab photos of the assault that friends of her daughter had sent her.
Guglielmi said Johnson immediately ordered detectives to investigate and the department asked Facebook to take down the video, which it did.
Andrew Holmes, a local activist, said a friend of the girl’s mother called him Monday asking if he could help find the video online and get it to the police, which he did. He said to him, the video showed that the girl was frightened and trying to get away.
“You could see where she was fearful. … You could see the look of fear and where she is resisting, pushing back,” he told the AP. “It looked like … she was in total shock.”
Holmes said the video shows someone pulling the girl to a bed as she struggled to get away. He said he was struck by the indifference of the others who were there.
The mother said her daughter was still terrified after police found her.