Apr 4, 2011


CLEVELAND, Texas – The family of the victim of an alleged gang rape in 2010 held a fundraiser Sunday to help with their financial troubles.

Police say the victim was just 11 years old when she was attacked by at least 19 suspects. The suspects range from middle school students to men as old as 27.

The fundraiser, held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the 2900 block of Navigation Boulevard, was organized by several Latino groups who wanted to help the young victim and her family.

"We all think it's important because they have been displaced," said Yolanda Black Navarro with Latinas Enhancing Advocacy and Development. "They have no income coming in and it's important for us to help them because besides the victim, the family, they're all in torture."

Navarro said the victim's parents are dealing with serious health problems. The mother reportedly has been diagnosed with having brain tumors and the father is currently unemployed.

Sylvia Gonzales, the League of United Latin American Citizens' southwest represenative, said the girl was in foster care while the investigation continued but she was allowed to visit her parents. Despite the ordeal, Gonzales said, the girl was doing well in her new school.

As part of the fundraiser, people gave clothes, money and even stuffed animals. Fundraiser officials said they raised about $5,000 on Sunday.

The event was the latest chapter in a case that has made national headlines, in part due to the racial tension that has boiled to the surface.

The issue was addressed Sunday when community activist Deric Muhammad condemned those who have said the girl's parents should have been more careful or anyone who's suggested the girl had provoked the suspects.

"No 11-year-old girl who suffers from a crime like rape is responsible for her own suffering," Muhammad said. "No 11-year-old girl is responsible for her own suffering."

At least half of the 19 suspects in the case are scheduled to appear in court Monday.


Source - KHOU


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