7 Rhode Island Men Arrested for Rape of 16-Year-Old Girl: Police

September 3, 2020 Updated: September 3, 2020

Rhode Island police have arrested seven men and are searching for another in connection to the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl, a video of which was reportedly posted on social media.

The girl was allegedly lured to a party in December 2019 and plied with alcohol and drugs before they “forced themselves” on her, said Providence Police Chief Hugh T. Clements Jr. in a news conference Wednesday.

Keith Erving Colon, 24; Jose Vargas, 18; Carlos Chacon, 19; Richard Tarell Chester, 19; Malcolm Baptista, 18; Luis A. Cabrera, 18; and Luis Luna, 19, were arrested, officials said. They were charged with intent to commit sexual assault and conspiracy.

Police are searching for another suspect, Carlos Vasquez.

“We’ve had some real difficult cases over the years, but this is right up there,” Clements said, according to Providence Journal. “The incident was horrifying, devastating, disturbing on so many levels to this young girl, to her family and to this community,” he said.

Shortly after the alleged incident took place, a video was posted on Facebook showing what happened, he said.

“The video was more than enough to see the crime and identify the culprits,” Providence Police Major David Lapatin told the Boston Globe. “It is sickening to see it. It was tough on the investigators. They did a really good job.”

Clements said the suspects could face up to 20 years in prison. He said that the men who were arrested are known to police for their involvement in other criminal activities.

“We always urge people to come forward, but that’s a personal choice, and I commend her, I commend her family,” he added. “Individuals who do this should be held accountable.”