Examiner Staff Writer
April 19, 2010 Just 7 years old. That's the age of the little girl who was gang-raped in a Trenton, N.J., apartment building a little over two weeks ago.
It's a crime so monstrous, so vile and so despicable that it has to boggle the mind. So far four people -- three juveniles ages 13, 14 and 17, and a 19-year-old adult -- have been arrested in connection with the atrocity. All are male. I refuse to call the 19-year-old a man for a very good reason.
Even a pack of wild dogs wouldn't have done what these males did. According to news reports, at least three other males were involved. This is what happened, according to Trenton police and several news stories.
The 7-year-old had a 15-year-old stepsister. Apparently, the 7-year-old had more good sense than the 15-year-old. The elder stepsister went to a party on the 13th floor of Trenton's Rowan Tower apartment building. The 7-year-old, concerned for her older stepsister's safety, tagged along. According to an April 2 Associated Press story, here's what happened next:
"The 15-year-old sold sex to men in the room, then took money to let them touch the younger girl. Touching turned to forcible sex as at least seven men raped the 7-year-old. The little girl then put her clothes on and left the apartments. That's when two women found her crying and took her home."
Police booked the 15-year-old sister on charges of promoting prostitution, aggravated sexual assault and other charges, according to the AP story.
This crime almost tops the one that occurred three years ago in West Palm Beach, Fla. In that case a bunch of thugs gang-raped a Haitian-American woman, brutally beat her then-12-year-old son and then forced her to perform oral sex on the boy at gunpoint. Juveniles as young as 14 years old were among the assailants.
We should all be wondering just how we reached this point in America, and we are no doubt asking where are the parents in all this.
Just where, exactly, were the parents of the 7-year-old victim and her stepsister? Where were the parents of the 13, 14 and 17-year-old suspects? Where were the parents of the juvenile suspects in the West Palm Beach incident?
Where were those parents, and what kind of values were they giving their children? I'm far from a saint, and not much of a churchgoing man, but I still remember the values my mother -- a single mom, by the way, who had to raise six children alone and refused to go on welfare -- gave me.
When I was 4 years old, I was in a movie theater watching Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 version of "The Ten Commandments." On Sundays, I was at Mass, and then Sunday school. When school dismissed for the summer, she made sure I made it to the Bible school of the nearest Catholic parish.
All that religious training, at the very minimum, instilled in me some very important values. Like not stealing or lying. Or brutalizing and raping.
Today many Americans openly sneer at religious values. Bill Maher, one of those who sneer at religion most passionately, has his own show on the HBO network. Illusionists Penn and Teller, two more members of the anti-religion brigade, have their own program on the Showtime network.
Today's entertainment industry has no tolerance for religion, while promoting the most gratuitous displays of sex and violence. The answer to the question of where those Trenton and West Palm Beach parents were may be an easy one.
Nowhere to be found, and letting television do the baby-sitting for them.
Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.