DC Police Reopen Case of 11-Year-Old Rape Victim
Washington, D.C., police are reinvestigating a seven-year-old botched rape case involving an 11-year-old Black girl, The Washington Post reports.
Despite showing signs of sexual assault after two separate rape incidents in 2008, a young Danielle Hicks-Best was arrested by local police for filing a false report. The Post report reveals that even though she was well under the local age of consent — 16 — and the suspects were at least in their late teens or early 20s, a lieutenant called the “sex” consensual in an internal e-mail in 2009.
“Parents are unable to accept the fact of this child’s promiscuous behavior caused this situation,” he wrote in the discussion with his colleagues.
Following her arrest, Hicks-Best was convicted and made a ward of the court after her family agreed to what they say was a “poorly understood” plea bargain.
Since then, she has been bounced around from detention center to secure treatment center. A frequent runaway, the unstable young woman never completed high school, had a child at 15 and “is struggling to move forward with her life,” Joanna Walters of the Post writes.
“After 11, she lost the rest of her childhood,” Danielle’s foster mother, Veronica Best, told the Post. Best and her husband, Mayo, reportedly demanded for years that the police focus on the attacks. Their campaign also included contacting high-ranking officials, including D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier and her deputy, Peter Newsham.
“I was desperate for the police to do their job six years ago and get those guys off the street and away from Danielle,” Best said. “It’s hard not to be angry when she was the one locked up and labeled...a delinquent.”
D.C. police investigators finally launched a new probe into the 2008 cases and the way they were handled last fall. The Post also claims Police Chief Lanier telephoned the family to apologize after the publication approached them.
“Obviously we cannot turn the clock back and fix things that have happened in the past,” Police Chief Lanier told the Post.
"The best I can offer the hypothetical victim from six or seven years ago...is to make sure if there were any investigative leads that were never followed or things that should have been done that they are done. It’s never too late to try to correct things.”
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(Photo: Sean De Burca/Corbis)