Four Elmwood Park, New Jersey, teenagers have been accused of sexually assaulting an extremely drunk 15-year-old girl at a June 21 party — an incident that will sound depressingly familiar to anyone who followed the cases of Steubenville, Ohio, and Maryville, Missouri. According to Bergen County prosecutor John L. Molinelli, 18-year-old Craig Howe, 18-year-old Justin Draper, and an unnamed 17-year-old suspect “sexually penetrated” the victim in a backyard while 18-year-old Ashari Wilson used his iPhone to record the alleged attack. The girl’s parents later found her unconscious on their lawn. They took her to the hospital, where her blood alcohol level was said to be 0.27, more than three times the legal limit.
The Associated Press reports that the 15-year-old “could not recall the encounter but said she was informed by a 17-year-old male acquaintance that they had engaged in sexual activity that night. She later learned that cellphone video was taken showing her having sex with three individuals.” The girl, her family, and a friend who had seen the recording reported the incident to the police about three weeks after it happened. Investigators were able to locate the tape and log it into evidence.
All four of the male teenagers are facing an aggravated sexual assault charge. The 17-year-old has also been charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest, while Wilson has been charged with “manufacturing child pornography, child endangerment, hindering apprehension, and invasion of privacy,” according to the AP. “We believe because of the alcohol that she ingested, there’s just no way that she could form any type of consent to have sex with these men and we believe the men took advantage of that,” said Molinelli as he announced the charges. The suspects are all being held on $150,000 to $200,000 bail.