Authorities are searching for suspects after they say a 15-year-old girl was the victim of “some sick and disgusting crimes,” some of which were captured on video and shared on social media.
Police say the teen, who was seen being beaten by a group on the city’s South Side, is also believed to have been sexually assaulted.
“The victim was interviewed and she did mention a couple of things aside from what was on the video,” said Chicago Police Officer Jose Jara, declining to comment further on what might have happened.Â
Community activist Stringer Harris, who has been working with the family in wake of the incident, said the girl’s friends attacked her, allegedly because she did not want to participate in sexual acts and to keep her from reporting it to police.Â
“It’s a shame, and she’s upset,” Harris said. “She’s still trying to figure this out.”Â
Police confirmed the Special Victims Unit is investigating a possible sexual assault in connection with the case.Â
Details surrounding the attack remain unclear, with police unsure when and where it took place.Â
“She was invited out by some girls, who are so-called friends, who are eventually the offenders in these disgusting incidents,” Jara said.Â
Video that went viral on social media this week showed the young girl being beaten by a large group. That video is now the center of a criminal investigation, Chicago police said Tuesday.
The video, which was shared on Twitter and had been seen more than 120,000 times in less than 24 hours, â€œhas been forwarded to the Chicago Police Special Victims Unit and a criminal investigation has been opened,â€ Chicago Police Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted Tuesday evening.
â€œThis is beyond disturbing to watch and this young girl deserves far better,â€ Guglielmi wrote.
Guglielmiâ€™s post cited a tweet from a user who wrote the video showed her friend with â€œa mental disability that has been progressing since the passing of her motherâ€ being â€œjumpedâ€ by a group.
â€œI know this wonâ€™t blow up since Iâ€™m a small account but please share and rt! I want justice for my friend, she didnâ€™t deserve any of this,â€ the tweet read.
A community activist said the 15-year-old knew her attackers and considered many of them “friends.” Activist Stringer Harris said the girl’s father is “very upset” that his daughter was “maliciously beaten.”Â
“The family do know who these kids are and theyâ€™re very upset about this because these kids took advantage of this young girl,” Harris said.Â
The teen, who Harris said has a “mental illness,” disappeared at some point and a missing person report was filed, but police said she had been missing for five days before the family reported it. She was found by a friend Tuesday and taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, where she is in good condition.Â
“She was heartbroken about this situation,” Harris said, adding that the girl suffered lacerations to her forehead.Â
Police said she was treated and released and an investigation remained ongoing. Area Central detectives were expected to canvas neighborhoods for video and potential witnesses.Â
“Information is coming in but we need the publicâ€™s help to hold the offenders accountable,” Jara said.
Police are still searching for suspects and said those involved could face “battery with some additional charges.”Â
Anyone with information on the case is being asked to call (312) 747-8308 or submit an anonymous tip at cpdtip.com.