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November 27, 2002

14 - year - old raped

From: Somerville Journal, MA - 27 Nov 2002

14-year-old raped on Walnut Street

By Hillary Chabot / Journal Staff
Wednesday, November 27, 2002

A 14-year-old girl was raped in a walkway between two houses on Walnut Street by at least four men, according to police, but investigators do not believe the incident is connected to two gang-related rapes that have occurred in the city.

The girl was raped around 5 p.m. on Nov. 21, between 150 and 152 Walnut St. The teenage rape is the city's fourth in two months.

Somerville Police Chief George McLean announced details of the crime at an Aldermen's meeting that night. Since the meeting, however, the police and the Middlesex District Attorney's Office have been tight-lipped about releasing details of the crime.

"There have been no arrests, so the matter is still under investigation," said Seth Horwitz, spokesman for the Middlesex District Attorney's office. Horwitz would not confirm the age of the girl or the number of suspects, or give out any information about where the teen lives or what condition she is in.

At 10 p.m. on Nov. 21, police with flashlights scoured the 3-by-10 foot area between the houses on Walnut Street. Crime tape sanctioned off the area while two cruisers parked nearby.

According to neighbors in the Winter Hill neighborhood, the police arrived at the site between 7 and 8 p.m. None of the nearby neighbors had heard any screams that afternoon.

"I didn't hear anybody scream," said a woman living at 152 Walnut St., right next to the crime site. The woman, who did not want to give her name, said her son's friend was sleeping in the house during the alleged assault and he, too, heard nothing.

Other neighbors expressed disgust about the fourth rape of a teenage girl in the course of two months. Last month, two deaf girls were raped in Foss Park, and a 10-year-old girl was raped on Franklin Street two weeks ago.

Police arrested three men, allegedly MS-13 gang members, in connection with the Foss Park rapes. A 21-year-old El Salvadorian man was charged with the third rape, though police say he is not a gang member.

According Somerville Police Lt. Frank Kelley, the Walnut Street rape was not gang-related. At the Thursday night Aldermen's meeting, McLean said investigators were looking for four black men in connection with the rape.

"I'm shocked. It's usually a safe city," said Paul Oliveira, while he looked across the street at the crime tape and the flashlights. Neither Oliveira nor his wife, Vanessa, heard anything during the time of the rape, they said.

Oliveira said a lot of youths walked through the area coming home from school, but the street has always felt safe.

"I hope they get those guys and put them away," Oliveira said.

A father who also lives nearby pointed out that the area has no street light. The neighbor asked not to be named in the paper. Although he used to feel safe in the area, the growing incidents of crime have made him nervous.

"We always thought East Somerville was dangerous, but this is not any safer," he said.

John Lammi and Jesse Kramer, who live a few houses down from the crime, said that they see high school kids walk past their apartment all the time.

"I didn't think it was that bad," Lammi said. "To hear that happened...that's incredible."

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