Liberian official meets with police about rape - East Valley Tribune: News

Liberian official meets with police about rape

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Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2009 9:19 pm | Updated: 2:55 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Liberia's deputy ambassador to the United States met with police detectives Thursday and toured the Phoenix facility where an 8-year-old rape victim from his country was treated.

Deputy Ambassador Edwin Sele and leaders of Arizona's Liberian community were at Childhelp, which aids young victims of crime, to see what experience the girl had there and learn about the services she's still getting, such as counseling.

Sele said he felt comforted after touring the facility that the girl received good treatment.

Police say four boys, all Liberian refugees ages 9 to 14, lured the girl to an empty storage shed July 16 with the promise of chewing gum then restrained and raped her.

Sele got a copy of a lengthy Phoenix police report about the case and said he would give it to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who asked Sele to visit Phoenix and report his findings to her.

Sele is on a five-day visit to Phoenix to meet with prosecutors, childcare workers, police and family members of the boys and girl. He was expected to meet with at least some of the family members later Thursday.

He said he wants to talk to the girl's father in particular to give him a chance to explain comments he made to police that he was ashamed of his daughter and didn't want her back — a contention later disputed by the family's pastor.

Sele also is hoping to meet with the children themselves, but a juvenile court judge has ordered that anyone who wants to visit the two youngest boys must get permission from their lawyers, court-appointed advocates and Child Protective Services. The lawyers indicated they would advise the boys not to speak with the ambassador.

Sele would need approval from CPS to meet with the girl because she is in their custody. 

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