Eight men are facing felony charges for allegedly sexually assaulting an unconscious 16-year-old girl during a party last December, with a portion of the rape being recorded on video and then shared on Facebook.
Police in Providence held a press conference on Wednesday morning and announced the arrests of seven of the suspects, identified as Richard Tarell Chester, 20, of Massachussetts; Luis Cabrera, 19; Jose Vargas, 19; Erving Keith Colon, 25; Malcom Baptista, 19; Luis Luna, 19, and Carlos Chicon, 20, all of Providence.
An eighth suspect, Carlos Vasquez, 19, of Providence, remains at large and is being sought by police.
Police in Providence, Rhode Island, have named eight suspects in the December 2019 sexual assault of an unconscious 16-year-old girl, seven of whom have been caught
The crime took place during a house party on Glenham Street (pictured), where the teen was brought by two friends
Chester, who was allegedly seen in the video raping the teenager, has been charged with first-degree sexual assault on a person who was mentally incapacitated and conspiracy.
The other seven men have been arraigned on charges of assault with intent to commit first-degree sexual assault on a person who was mentally incapacitated, and conspiracy.
Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements Jr said the case, which he described as ‘horrifying, devastating, disturbing on so many levels,’ began unfolding on December 20, 2019, when the 16-year-old girl woke up at around 1am suffering from vaginal pain and cuts on her thighs at a home in the 100 block of Glenham Street.
Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements Jr described the case as ‘horrifying, devastating, disturbing’ during a press conference on Wednesday announcing the arrests
According to court documents obtained by the Boston Globe, the girl was alone with Chester, who then ordered her to leave.
When she retrieved her phone, she discovered that someone had used the device to send mocking messages to her ex-boyfriend, saying that she was sexually assaulted by multiple men while she was unconscious.
‘Not only did they criminally and viciously assault her, but completely violated her in so many inhumane ways,’ Clements said.
During interviews with investigators, the teen remembered a man holding her down on a bed and pouring Hennessy brandy down her throat during a house party where she was brought by two people she knew, according to the records.
She also recalled waking up naked in a shower surrounded by 15 men who were laughing and possibly photographing her.
The girl and her family filed a police report later that day, but it was not until June 2020 that the investigation kicked into high gear thanks to the discovery of a video recording on Facebook depicting a portion of the sexual assault.
The footage, described by Police Major David Lapatin as ‘sickening,’ reportedly depicted the unconscious 16-year-old being sexually assaulted on a bed by multiple men while others stood by and watched.
The victim’s mother recorded the video off Facebook and brought it to the detectives, who used it to identify the men in the footage and obtain warrants for their arrests, which were executed last week in Providence.
Police are searching for suspect Carlos Vasquez (left), who is wanted on charges of assault with intent to commit first-degree sexual assault on a person who was mentally incapacitated, and conspiracy
When asked during the press conference carried live by WJAR why it took eight months to make arrests in this case, Chief Clements replied: ‘this isn’t like TV police shows: these investigations are complicated. They take a lot of time to solve.’
Clements explained that it took months to gather video evidence and statements, and identify the suspects, some of whom were previously known only by their street nicknames.
Chester, the girl’s alleged rapist, is being held without bond. He has a lengthy criminal record that includes unrelated assault charges stemming from a clash with a father in a park in February 2020.
Some of the other suspects, among them Colon and Luna, also have prior records, and Chief Clements said on Wednesday that all of them are well-known to the police.
‘Parents, watch your daughters, they don’t belong going to these parties, these are dangerous, dangerous parties,’ Major Lapatin said, adding that young men should be aware of the risks, too.