A 10-year-old Chicago girl was sexually assaulted for years by adult men, despite numerous reports of abuse made to social services. It’s still unclear why it took so long for the state to help the victim.
CBS Chicago reports that the young victim was held inside a motel room at the Grand Motel at 10022 S. Halsted Street, while a 47-year-old man from her neighborhood allegedly abused her. Motel staff contacted police and provided the man’s name and information, but four months later, he still has not been arrested.
According to police, the sexual abuse began when the victim was a 7-year-old. For three years, numerous middle-aged men in their 40s and 50s sexually abused the little girl. In 2016, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) was first alerted about the situation, even receiving calls from the child’s school, but allegedly failed to act in time.
The abuse carried on until October 2020, when authorities found the victim in the motel room and placed her in the state’s custody.
DCFS wouldn’t comment when recently questioned by CBS 2 reporters. Instead, the outlet looked up police records and determined that DCFS failed to remove the child from a toxic situation for years while alleged pedophiles roamed the streets free.
Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert, among others, is now pushing for answers and wondering how a young girl could have slipped through the system for so long.
“DCFS commonly leaves kids in very dangerous situations, where they continue to be abused, instead of bringing cases to court and rescuing children,” Golbert said. “This case illustrates that.”
Golbert added that the child’s emotional instability grew worse after having to endure the abuse for years. Golbert said things would have been much different if DCFS had intervened years ago. Now, however, the victim lives in a strict psychiatric facility, where she can only go outside once a day, for an hour.
The girl was cleared to leave the hospital in December 2020, but since DCFS has nowhere to place her, she remains there, Golbert said.
“This girl has been in a locked psychiatric hospital for a month after she’s been ready for discharge because DCFS has nowhere to place her – a long-standing problem,” Golbert said.
“It’s horrible. You’re locked up indoors all day. They get about one hour of outdoor recreation every day. They lose schooling.”
Meanwhile, at least five men accused of sexually abusing the child remain free. During a court hearing last week, DCFS admitted they couldn’t locate their own case reports showing if they did anything at all to help the victim when the first assault was reported.
Further, social services workers initially took the victim home after finding her at the Grand Hotel, without sending her to the hospital for a medical checkup.
The Chicago Police Department released a statement following the incident.
“Protecting the lives and wellbeing of children is the highest priority of the Chicago Police Department. We have initiated a thorough review of how this disturbing series of allegations of abuse and neglect was handled by CPD.
“While the criminal investigations are ongoing, CPD is taking a close look at our policies around missing youth and we are committed to strengthening our guidelines, training, and protocols. We are also working with our partners in social services, education, and healthcare to be more extensive and trauma-informed to better support youth and families. We are all committed to ensuring the safety of Chicago’s children.”
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[Feature Photo: Pixabay]