Liberia prez: Rape victim's family wrong

July 25, 2009 at 12:10 PM
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PHOENIX, July 25 (UPI) -- The Liberian refugee parents of a girl who was allegedly gang-raped in the United States shouldn't be ashamed of their daughter, Liberia's president says.

Phoenix, Ariz., police say the 8-year-old victim of the alleged rape last week has been removed from her home and placed into protective custody because her own family is ashamed of her. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Friday that that was wrong and urged the family to receive counseling, CNN reported.

"This is not a question of shame on the family. It is the question of an assault on a young child. That cannot be tolerated," Sirleaf told CNN from Monrovia.

Police have charged four boys, ages 9 to 14 -- also Liberian refuges -- in the case, alleging they lured the girl into a shed on July 16, restrained her and sexually assaulted her.

"We are so saddened," Sirleaf told CNN. "We are deeply distressed at this behavior on the part of our young Liberians and very saddened at this 8-year-old child who has been so victimized," adding that the girl's family "need serious counseling because, clearly, they are doing something that is no longer acceptable in our society here."

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