CHICAGO — Police announced late Saturday that they had made an arrest — “the first of several” — in connection with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl that was streamed on Facebook Live last month.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson called the case “reprehensible” at a press conference late Sunday morning and said that a warrant has been issued for a second juvenile offender who has not yet been arrested.
“This is the first of several arrests we expect to make in this investigation,” Johnson said.
This arrest and the ongoing investigation involve the execution of “social media search warrants,” Chief of Detectives Melissa Staples said Sunday.
Brendan Deenihan, Commander of Area Central Detectives, said Sunday that in addition to the assailants caught on camera, there is an “individual who took the specific video that needs to be charged.”
The person in custody is 14-year-old boy who faces felony counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, manufacturing of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography, police said.
The 15-year-old girl was reported missing Sunday, March 19. On the following Tuesday, Anthony Guglielmi, a Chicago Police Department spokesman, announced she had been found by Ogden District officers and reunited with her mother.
“No woman should ever be treated the way this young woman was,” Johnson said Sunday at a news conference announcing the arrest.
“The young men responsible, they should be ashamed of themselves. They humiliated themselves, humiliated their families, and now they’re going to be held accountable for what they did.”
The family of the girl approached Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson after a news conference Monday, March 20, told him they’d seen her being sexually assaulted by several boys in a video on Facebook Live and showed him stills from the video, Guglielmi said.
Johnson took the girl’s mother aside and called the chief of detectives.
Officers found the girl in the street the next day and she was taken to a hospital and reunited with her mother.
At Sunday’s press conference, Johnson decried the inaction of social media users who viewed the live-streamed video of the assault and failed to act.
“We’ve seen a couple of acts in this city in the last few months involving social media, and it just disgusts me that people could watch these videos and not pick up the phone and dial 911.”
Deenihan said the girl has since been a victim of “constant social media bullying” that has prolonged her trauma in the aftermath of the assault.
“The victim knew one of the offenders,” Deenihan said. “She was lured to the residence [where the assault occurred] and then from there she was not allowed to leave and she didn’t consent to what occurred.”
The assault was one of several high-profile crimes that have been live-streamed on Facebook in Chicago. Last month, a pregnant woman was recording herself on Facebook Live when a gunman opened fire, wounding her and killing a 2-year-old and a man.
In January, four people were charged with a hate crimes in the kidnapping and torturing of a mentally disabled suburban man on Facebook Live.
In 2016, a man was live streaming when he was shot and fatally wounded in North Lawndale. Also in 2016 a man taking a selfie video was shot on Facebook. He survived that incident, but was shot to death months later.