TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The father of a 7-year-old girl police say was gang-raped is defending three of the men accused.
The father said Thursday that the three men tried to get his daughter out of the apartment where she was attacked. He says they were kept from helping by others who held them at gunpoint.
The Associated Press does not identify sex crime victims and is not naming the father so as not to identify his daughter.
Police say the girl was prostituted out by her 15-year-old stepsister, who watched as she was raped by as many as seven men and boys at a party March 28.
The father’s comments came after 20-year-old Gregory Leary was ordered held on $500,000 bail. He is among those the father is defending.
WATCH THIS EARLIER REPORT ON THE GANG RAPE SUSPECTS:
The lawyer for one of five suspects accused of gang-raping a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who prosecutors say was sold for sex by her stepsister suggested Thursday in court that the child had been pressured to make up the story.
“She was not raped, was not gang-raped,” Robin Lord, attorney for suspect Gregory Leary, said. “I’m 100 percent certain that the 7-year-old was not sexually assaulted. The allegations will not be substantiated by any forensic evidence.”
Leary, accused of participating in the rape and endangering the welfare of a child, was ordered held on $500,000 bail. He is also accused of statutory rape; Trenton police say he also had sex with the girl’s 15-year-old stepsister.
“My son didn’t rape anyone,” Leary’s mother, Robin David, said outside the courthouse. “My son is a loving child and could never hurt anyone. I feel terrible about my child and anyone else’s who is involved in this.”
Police have said that the stepsister was paid for sex at a party in a vacant apartment, then gave the younger girl money and encouraged the men to let them touch her. Police say it then progressed to rape by as many as seven men and boys. The stepsister has also been arrested.
The child was treated at a hospital, and police say there is DNA evidence of the crime.
In all, five men and boys have been charged with raping the 7-year-old. Besides Leary, they are 19-year-old Timear Lewis and three boys ages 13, 14 and 17.
“These boys are victims of their own hormones,” Lord said.
Police have said they expect additional arrests.
Associated Press writer Aaron Morrison contributed to this report.
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