UPDATE: 4 boys charged in girl's sexual assaultPosted: Updated:
UPDATE on 7/23: County Attorney Andrew Thomas has formally charged four boys with raping an 8-year-old girl. The 14-year-old has been charged as an adult, the other three boys as juveniles.
A criminal complaint filed in adult court against Steven Tuopeh accuses him of two counts of sexual assault and one count of kidnapping.
Petitions filed in juvenile court accuse the 13-year-old of three counts of sexual assault and one count of kidnapping. The 10-year-old is accused of two counts of sexual assault and one count of kidnapping. The 9-year-old is accused of one count of sexual assault. These crimes are listed as class 2 felonies.
Prosecutors do have the option to seek Superior Court approval to transfer a case to adult court.
Thomas stated, "This is a deeply disturbing case that has gripped our community. Our office will seek justice for the young victim in this heartrending situation."
ORIGINAL: PHOENIX -- According to the Phoenix Police Department, an 8-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by four boys between the ages of 9 and 14.
Police talk about sexual assault of 8-year-old - The Phoenix Police Department says four boys sexually assaulted an 8-year-old girl in a vacant storage shed.
Police say that on July 16, the girl was lured her into a vacant storage shed behind an apartment near 43rd Avenue and Thomas Road by the suspects offering her some chewing gum.
Phoenix police Sgt. Andy Hill said the four suspects, ages 9, 10, 13 and 14, restrained her and brutally sexually assaulted her for 10 to 15 minutes.
Hill said a couple people heard screaming and came outside. The suspects and a few other children who were watching ran away.
Hill said police received an emergency call about a young girl screaming hysterically as she ran out of a storage shed partially clothed.
Several young males were seen running from the area and Steven Tuopeh, 14, was caught by officers.
The investigation revealed the identities of all suspects and multiple witnesses including additional children who associate with the group in the complex.
All the suspects except one reside with their families in the apartment complex and one of the suspects is the victim's cousin.
They are all part of a refugee group from Liberia.
All four suspects were arrested Tuesday by Phoenix police officers and detectives without incident while they were at home.
Hill said all the suspects were interviewed and admitted planning and involvement in the sexual assault.
The suspects are facing sexual assault and kidnapping charges.
Tuopeh is being charged as an adult.
Child Protective Services removed the victim from the custody of her parents, who, according to detectives, blamed her for being victimized and bringing shame to their family.
The girl's 23-year-old sister who was baby-sitting when the attack happened is blaming her younger sibling, but the child's mother is denying anything even happened and is angry that CPS has her child.
While her father told 3TV that he wants his daughter back, police said he told them he didn't.
The deputy ambassador of Liberia to the United States released a statement regarding the assault.
"Having heard the story myself, I'm outraged," Edwin Sele said. "In Liberia, the family and law enforcement officers would be embracing the victim. To hear that the family is not doing that, that should be an isolated case."