Four juvenile males and five men have been charged in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-girl.
The juvenile crimes the boys are accused of are serious offenses, and the Ramsey County Attorney said he plans to ask to have the boys waived into adult court.
The five men arrested for the assault all face charges of aiding and abetting one count of first degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping of a victim under the age of 16, conspiracy to commit first degree sexual conduct and committing a crime for the benefit of a gang. The men range in age from 18 to 37.
According to prosecutors, all nine of the defendants are members of the True Blood 22 street gang. Lawmakers say the gang is known to operate in the Twin Cities.
Prosecutors allege members of the gang organized a party Nov. 17, 2011 and convinced the girl and a friend to attend. Eventually, the party ended up in an abandoned house in St. Paul, in the 200 block of White Bear Avenue.
The girl told police that when she and her friend tried to leave the party to go home, the nine defendants blocked the way. She says the men then carried her to one of the home's bedrooms. Once she was in the bedroom, she claims various gang members held her down, so other members of the gang could take turns sexually assaulting her.
Juvenile gang members, in an effort to impress the other members of the gang, will often follow along when older (adult) members commit crimes. The young members may not always understand the implications of their actions and that their crimes can have dire consequences.
Charges against a minor defendant can have lasting results, such as impacting educational and career opportunities. It is important in situations such as these to ensure that the children involved did not have their constitutional rights violated and that their best interests are guarded.
Source: KARE 11, "9 charged in St. Paul gang rape," March 24, 2012