In Houston, Tex., a 10-year-old girl has been charged with aggravated sexual assault after a witness saw her "inappropriately touch" a younger boy while playing a game of "doctor."
Back in April, a neighbor saw "Ashley" (not the girl's real name) playing a game of "doctor" with some other children in their apartment complex. She noticed that the girl, who was nine at the time, was touching a four-year-old boy's genitals, and called his mother. Two months later, officers arrested Ashley under suspicion of rape, and kept her in county detention for four nights.
Ashley is now set to appear in front of a judge on Oct. 2. The charge of "aggravated" sexual assault carries heavier penalties than sexual assault alone: the term "aggravated" is generally tacked on to crimes that are considered more serious, such as when an attack occurs on a very young or very old person. Because Ashley is a minor, she'll likely face detention and parole rather than time spent behind bars if convicted.
Here's what Ashley said about her arrest: "I was crying, and they took me to the car, and I didn't want to get in, and I was crying and I was moving, and trying not to get in the police car, and my Mom told me to calm down." At the police station, her mother wasn't allowed to sit in on her questioning, which left Ashley in tears.
"It's a nightmare even having to go through something like this. Because that's my baby, that's my baby, and just the thought of her going through something like this, it hurts me," her mother said.
Noted a member of the New Black Panther Party, an political organization working for black rights which has taken on Ashley's case: “I’ve never dealt with a child this young being accused of a crime. In fact, this was nothing more than inappropriate horseplay that has now led to a child that is 10 years old being charged with aggravated rape.”