LAKEBAY, Wash. – Three teenage boys are facing serious charges after Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies said they recorded themselves sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.
Investigators believe the boys then shared the attack across social media.
The victim’s mother told Q13 News she was home at the time of the assault but didn’t know anything happened until she discovered her daughter partially naked and covered in scratches and blood inside their backyard shed where police said the violent assault occurred.
One by one, the suspects, ages 13, 14 and 17, faced a judge in Tacoma. All of the boys are being held at Remann Hall Juvenile Detention Center and each facing sexual assault charges.
Q13 News does not identify victims of sexual assault or minors charged with crimes, unless they are eventually charged as adults.
Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies said the crime happened early Monday morning in the Lakebay community.
Several teenage boys, the victim and her younger sister were in the girl’s backyard shed and some of them had been drinking alcohol.
At one point, deputies said the victim lost consciousness –- that’s when multiple teenage boys are accused of wrapping her with an electrical cord, dragging her around the shed and then sexually assaulting her.
Police said the teen’s younger sister had to hide in order to avoid becoming a victim, too.
One of the suspect’s grandfathers spoke on the boy’s behalf in court.
"The child has been a stellar child his whole life, I mean, he’s never been in trouble in school, never been in trouble with the law, he’s played a lot of sports, very big in baseball, number one in wrestling last year,” said the man.
Police said one of the suspects goes to Key Peninsula Middle School, a second boy once did but was no longer enrolled. The third suspect was previously enrolled at Peninsula High School.
Police said the boys allegedly used the victim’s sister’s cell phone to record and then share pictures and video of the sexual assault through the social media app Snapchat. That’s how deputies said they were tipped off.
“Parents really need to be aware of the different applications and apps that are out there that can do this kind of thing,” said Detective Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. “Teenagers are really good at hiding text messages, pictures, and videos. This is an example of it.”
Police also arrested a 20-year-old man who was overheard talking in the video recordings. He had an outstanding warrant for child rape out of Mason County.
Troyer said there could be more arrests coming as the investigation continues.