Two teenage boys have been arrested in Brooklyn after allegedly taking part in the sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl with a learning disability -- at school, in front of a crowd of other students.
A 14-year-old boy was charged with sex abuse and forcible touching, and a 15-year-old boy also faces charges of sex abuse and forcible touching, along with the charge of unlawful imprisonment. It is possible that up to five other students were involved.
The teen girl told authorities that she was initially led to a boy's bathroom on the ground floor of the public school by a 13-year-old boy who had told her that her English as a Second Language teacher was waiting there.
Instead, six other male students were waiting, where the 15-year-old pushed the girl into the bathroom and demanded that she perform sexual acts with the 14-year-old.
The other students involved reportedly watched the incident occur. The girl told authorities that she believes one of them recorded the assault on his phone.
After the assault, the girl reported the incident to a counselor. The counselor and school administration contacted authorities immediately and have been working closely with the NYPD, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Education.
"This incident is deeply troubling and we are working closely with the NYPD as they conduct an investigation," she told WNBC. "Nothing is more important than the safety of our students and staff, and we're ensuring that it is swiftly addressed. This was immediately reported, families have been notified and we are providing the school with additional supports."
The two boys have reportedly been released into the custody of their parents after their cases were referred to family court. A protection order was issued to keep the boys away from the victim.
The K-8 public school in which the incident occurred, P.S. 165, is part of New York's Renewal Schools program because of its history with poor performance and troubled students. In January, the city announced it would be cutting the middle-school grades at P.S. 165 as part of a plan to close and merge several schools within the Renewal Schools program, citing continued poor performance and low enrollment, according to Chalkbeat.
According to statistics collected by Rape Response Services, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting victims of sexual assault, 80 percent of people with disabilities are sexually assaulted more than once, and 50 percent of those were assaulted more than 10 times.
Nearly half of all women report that they have experienced some form of sexual violence. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual violence or abuse and needs support, call 800-656-HOPE or visit RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, online at rainn.org/get-help