TRENTON, NJ (NBC) - Two adults and three juveniles have been charged with gang-raping a 7-year-old girl who was sold by her 15-year-old stepsister during a party at a crime-ridden Trenton, New Jersey apartment building. Police announced the arrests on Saturday.
Investigators say the teen went to a party with some men on the 13th floor of the Rowan Towers apartment building, and the younger girl tagged along because she worried about her stepsister's safety.
The 15-year-old sold sex to men in the room, then took money to let them touch the younger girl, and the touching turned to forcible sex as at least seven men raped the 7-year-old.
The 15-year-old has been charged with promoting prostitution, aggravated sexual assault and other crimes. Police have not released her name.
One of the two adults charged was Gregory Joseph Leary, 20, of Trenton, who was charged with having sex with the 15-year-old. He now has additional charges of aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child against him.
The second adult arrested is Tiemear Lewis, 19, also of Trenton, who was also charged with aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
The juveniles arrested on the same charges were boys ages 13, 14 and 17. They were remanded to the Mercer County Youth Detention Center and are waiting for an arraignment to be scheduled. The juvenile suspects may be tried as adults.
Mayor Doug Palmer said he met with the victim's relatives at his office on Thursday to offer help and make sure they were able to move out of the neighborhood over safety concerns.
"We made sure they got out of the area," he said Saturday afternoon, before the news conference.
He credited the police force for its hard work but said "we're still not finished." He pledged to spare no expense "to make sure that everyone responsible is brought to justice."
"We're still asking the community to let us know if they have any more information on this heinous crime," he said.
Palmer met with the parents, the 7-year-old girl and her two younger siblings. The woman is the mother of the 7-year-old girl, and the man she lives with is the father of the 15-year-old. The man and woman also have two toddlers together.
He said police officers had taken the case "very personally" and the investigation has been "a nightmare on everyone involved."
Police Director Irving Bradley would only say "it's still an active investigation" and that police had received a lot of help from the community.
Earlier in the week neighbors said they were scared to offer information due to fears of retaliation from gangs that prowl the streets if they spoke up.