Two sixth grade girls, ages 12 and 13, have accused two of their male classmates, ages 13 and 14, of raping them, the New York Daily News reports.
The alleged October 16 incident is said to have occurred at the Urban Science Academy on Teller Ave. in the Bronx just after the teens’ lunch period. The accusers, who knew their alleged attackers, say that they were sodomized in a secluded area of the school’s auditorium for close to two hours. According to court documents, the boys took off the girls’ clothes and took turns raping and sodomizing them.
“Let’s switch bodies,” one boy allegedly told the other.
Sadly, the girls’ attorney Alan Ripka says that no one went looking for the alleged victims after they missed two class periods. The girls went home and told their parents what happened. They were both taken to hospitals, where rape kits were administered and cops were called. The following day, the older boy was charged with first-degree rape. The 13-year-old was arrested and charged with rape in the third degree and committing a criminal sex act a few days later. They are both being charged as juveniles.
On Monday, the girls may have to face their alleged attackers at a Bronx Department of Education office for a suspension hearing and Ripka says that they are absolutely terrified. However, he adds that school officials have communicated that the boys won’t be suspended if the accusers do not show up to the hearing.
“(The girls) don’t want to be in front of these people,” he said. “Anybody with half a brain wouldn’t want to be. To traumatize these two young girls again by sitting them down at the same table as their accused rapists will be psychologically traumatizing, and the Department of Education should not be demanding they be present for the hearing.”
Per Department of Education policy, students accused of wrongdoing are afforded the opportunity to respond to their accusers at suspension hearings. For this particular incident, officials say that they are trying to come up with a way for the girls to testify without having to look at their accusers to minimize intimidation.
“I am deeply disturbed and saddened by these alleged events,” city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said in a statement. “As a mother and grandmother, I treat every student as my own, and every school must be a safe haven.”
Naturally, parents of students at the Urban Science Academy are concerned for the safety of their children following the incident.