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US police probe apparent gang rape streamed on Facebook

A man identified as the girl’s uncle told US media that the young men involved, some possibly under the age of 18, were known in the local community.

CHICAGO

Chicago police said Wednesday they were looking for up to six suspects who allegedly raped a teenage girl and broadcast the assault on Facebook Live.

The victim was a 15-year-old girl, who went missing on Sunday in the crime-plagued city in the US Midwest. She was only found on Tuesday and taken to a children’s hospital for treatment.

It was the latest in a series of troubling incidents in which violent acts have been streamed live on Facebook, including two fatal shootings and the kidnapping and torture of a disabled 18-year-old.

“It’s disgusting. As a father with two daughters, I can’t imagine what that mom is going through,” Chicago’s police chief Eddie Johnson said Tuesday.

Johnson became personally involved in the case after the girl’s mother approached him Monday with graphic photos taken from a Facebook Live video, showing several young men assaulting the teen, according to US media.

CRIMINAL

Authorities said Wednesday they were investigating the incident as a criminal sexual assault, and told AFP that no suspects were in custody.

Police would not confirm details of the video, citing the ongoing investigation.

The social networking site declined to comment specifically on the incident, but said in a statement that the company took seriously its “responsibility to keep people safe on Facebook.”

“Crimes like this are hideous and we do not allow that kind of content on Facebook,” the company said.

VIOLENT CRIME

“They are terrorizing that entire neighbourhood,” Reginald King told TV station WGN.

The live online video of the alleged gang rape attracted as many as 40 viewers at one time, but no one contacted police, according to reports. The video was later taken down.

Chicago has been grappling with a surge in violent crime. Last year, the city endured its highest number of shootings and murders in nearly two decades.

Much of the violence is concentrated in a few impoverished areas, including the one where the teenage girl lives.

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