by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action
Eighteen men (thirteen adults, five juveniles) have been charged in the rape of a young girl in Texas, according to CNN. Darrell Broussard, the assistant police chief in Cleveland, Texas told CNN that "There have been leads during our investigation that have alerted us to other possible persons of interest. The investigation is ongoing."
The men being charged are between 18 and 27 years old and the victim is age 11. Many of the men are reportedly students at Cleveland High School. The incident allegedly occurred last year and has led to a racial divide in the community. Those who were arrested are being charged with first-degree felony sexual abuse of a child and face 25-to life if convicted.
I am not one to say whether or not these men are guilty of the crime for which they are being accused (seeing their joint mug shot makes me sick to my stomach, since I’m sure the racist Texas Republicans are having a field day with this), I’ll let the courts handle that. I do worry about whether a state like Texas, which incarcerates and executes more black men than any state in America, has the ability to provide a fair trial. At the same time, I feel an incredible amount of sympathy for the young girl if she was indeed harmed in this way.