A disturbing story came out of Brooklyn this weekend as NYPD arrested five teenagers in the alleged gang rape of an 18-year old woman. The original account, reported Sunday by The Daily News, was that a group of men attacked the victim and her father in a public park, threatened and chased away the father with a handgun, and then took turns raping the young woman. The father is said to have tried to use the phone at a nearby bodega to call 911, but, according to the clerks, he appeared drunk and “showed no urgency,” so he was turned away. Now, more details have emerged, leaving us with an increasingly murky – and far from complete – story. Here’s a breakdown from the NY Times:
Five days after officials say an 18-year-old woman was set upon in Brownsville, four teenagers were arraigned on first-degree rape charges on Tuesday night, and a fifth suspect was arrested.
A smartphone video that its owner and defense lawyers said showed a verbal encounter before a suspected gang rape at a Brooklyn playground emerged on Tuesday…
Detectives are investigating claims that the woman was having sex with her father when the five suspects encountered them at Osborn Playground around 9 p.m. on Thursday.
It “does not mean she was not a victim of a pretty horrific attack,” a law enforcement official said. “What appeared to have happened is that the father may have put her in that compromised position.”
The defense questioned the conduct of the woman and her father leading up to the attack, raising a video that it says shows the woman partially clothed on the ground, laughing and smiling, moments before the attack.
Spencer A. Leeds, the lawyer for Onandi Brown, 17, added, “There’s a belief in the neighborhood, in the Brownsville community, that the complaining witness and the father have had sexual intercourse.”
Billy Sullivan, 24, said the video was recorded Thursday at Osborn Playground by his younger brother, Mr. Phillip, 15. He said it portrays a fresh snippet of dialogue that would help the argument that any sex was consensual.
“She said yeah,” an unidentified male voice is heard saying on the video, played for a reporter on Tuesday by Mr. Sullivan. Then a male voice is heard saying: “If you said yeah, it’s lit, like, you know what I mean. I could tell you a freak.”
Two of the suspects, Mr. Phillip and Mr. Murray, were turned in to the police by their mothers on Sunday… Later on Sunday, the police arrested Mr. Cooper, 15, and Mr. Brown, the authorities said. The fifth suspect, Travis Beckford, 17, was arrested on Tuesday morning and charged with first-degree rape.
“Both the victim and the father, the witness, say the gun was used, so we’re still searching for that gun,” Chief Boyce said.
Initially, the police said that “each one of the five suspects raped the victim.”
By Monday, the account of that chain of events was changing.
The woman told investigators she was raped by at least one of the suspects and forced to perform oral sex on two others... Under questioning by detectives, two of the suspects told investigators they witnessed those sex acts, but described them as consensual between the woman and the three other suspects…
The victim and her father have admitted to drinking alcohol at the playground before the encounter, Chief Boyce said. “It’s part of the case,” he said.
They had bought beer together on Thursday, around 9 p.m., then walked into the playground together, which was captured on “distant video” images.
Officials said the woman and her father had been separated for much of her life…reconnecting only last summer.
First things first: no one should dismiss the fact that this 18-year old girl was the victim of some type of heinous crime. I’m not in the business of dismissing rape victims (who am I kidding, I do this for free), but in just a few days the original claim of a violent gang rape already seems somewhat flimsy. A search of all the boys’ cell phones and an in depth investigation of this smartphone video should provide more clarity in the coming weeks, but at the moment this sounds less like a violent gang rape and more like a vulnerable, intoxicated girl being taken advantage of by five, if not six, lowlife pieces of shit.
The defenses claims are enough to make me want to puke. If this bit about incest is true, Daddy John Doe is public enemy #1. Any gutter-dwellerwho abuses a young family member should be faded on sight. Don’t even waste my taxes, just drop this guy with the Javier Bardem cattle gun. Even if this moron was not assaulting his daughter, he should ashamed of himself. Dude was getting hammered in a park with his teenage daughter, late at night, and then abandoned her in a comprising position without any evidence of putting up a fight. Just a total fucking mope.
The five teen boys’ role is what’s most up in the air. From Day 1, this story has been reported as a “guilty until proven innocent” type situation. That’s a sensitive and understandable issue in abuse cases these days as no one wants to question the story of a rape victim. But lack of due process is also a big problem with urban youth in this country, and a lot of time vindication is delivered too little too late. That’s what makes this case so intriguing. The two sides represent dueling marginalized groups. It will be interesting to see how a generally liberal New York media handles this moving forward.
If this was a premeditated gang rape, lock these kids up and throw away the key. They don’t deserve daylight for the next few decades. But, given the recent updates, I’d like to play Devil’s Advocate.
Lets talk about if there was “verbal consent” granted, as the defense claims. There’s no denying that The Osborn Park Five was up to no good. According to the Times, one of the suspects was arrested on attempted murder charges in October (later downgraded to assault and possession of a weapon). They’re not innocent little teenagers, but they’re not necessarily rapists either. Anyways, this brilliant quintet stumbled upon the drunken father-daughter duo in the park and, whether Dad was fucking his daughter or not, they had a particular goal in mind. It takes a certain type of pathetic pack mentality to want to manhandle a chick with FOUR of your buddies. When it comes to sex, one-on-one is the way to go. Three-ways are acceptable, I guess, but anything more than that is some creepy punk shit.
So, The coward father subs himself out or gets chased away (no sign of a weapon, so, who knows?) and the boys get right to business. Even if approval was given, these scumbags still took advantage of a drunk woman in a very questionably fragile emotional state. Police say that the rape kit came back consistent with assault. My non legal argument would be that when one engages in an orgy with a group of hoppers in a blacktop park in Brownsville, the night moves are not likely to be sensual.
Rapists or not, these kids are shitheads in need of some serious rehabilitation. I’m pretty torn here. On one hand, I don’t want to dismiss a victim of abuse. I also don’t want to simply believe the family of potential rapists as they besmirch the victim and her father. However, the father’s role in this whole ordeal really bothers me. Street videos from a school and numerous delis show footage, yet no weapon has been found or shown. The dad’s story doesn’t add up. At best he’s a coward, a drunk (and likely junkie), and a terrible decision-maker. I’m having a hard time believing the his story. Combine that with the potential video evidence and I feel myself believing these claims of incest. I’ve got a bad feeling that the rape claim might be a detestable father’s cover-up, in which case the daughter would be so mentally and emotionally damaged that it makes sense for her to go along with the story. Clearly this girl is a victim, I’m just not sure to what degree. Hopefully both parties receive due process; it’d be a shame if this became another Central Park Five situation.