Latina Rape Victim, 11, In Dire Straits, Family Seeking Donations

A sad, sad story from Texas that is being complicated on all sorts of ways. The basic story is this: Starting in September of last year, an 11 year-old girl in Cleveland, Texas alleged that she was gang-raped by 19 men from 27 to middle school age over a period of three months. The case came to light when — what else? — cell phone video of the assault came to the attention of authorities.

But it gets worse.

After the case came to light, the family began to receive threatening phone calls and were forced to leave Cleveland, which is about 50 miles northeast of Houston. Critics of the victim tried to say that the accused didn’t know how old the girl was because she “dressed provocatively,” and others have tried to make this case about race. Ultimately, the family — which includes the parents Juan and María, as well as the 11 year-old girl, two daughters aged 15 and 16 and a son, 9 — had to leave town.

The mother, María, has untreated brain tumors and is suffering health problems as a result. The family has no insurance and the father works as a carpenter while the mother has been cleaning houses to bring home income. The victim was placed in foster care after the family began to receive threats. The men accused in the crime have pleaded not guilty.

So what can you do to help? A bank account has been set up to help the victim and her family at Amegy Bank under the name Cleveland Crime Victim Benefit Fund. Please help if you can, please spread the word.

Follow Sara Inés Calderón on Twitter @SaraChicaD

[Video By KHOU; Photo By Pink Sherbert Photography]

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