WOONSOCKET – Police have charged two city girls with assault with a dangerous weapon, a foot, and two other girls with simple assault over the Saturday afternoon attack on a 12-year-old city girl that was recorded and uploaded to the Internet.
The four suspects are also charged with conspiracy over the assault, according to Juvenile Detective Jamie Paone, investigating officer.
The video-recorded beating outside the Plaza Village apartment complex was reported to involve a victim the assailants knew and then spent Saturday night with after the attack.
The girls arrested in the attack, two 12-year-olds and two 13-year-olds, were processed on the charges at the police station after their arrests Monday and Tuesday and released to the custody of parents, according to Police Lt. Eugene Jalette, the department's spokesman.
“They will be given a hearing and the judge will decided what will happen,” Jalette said of the juvenile case. “I can't anticipate what the judge will do but they will have their day in court,” he said.
The girls involved were reported to know the girl and had even visited her home, according to comments the victim's mother made in media in reports on the incident.
Jalette said the victim suffered bruises and swelling to her face from the repeated slaps and kicks from her assailants.
The Internet video showed the four girls surrounding the victim as she lay on the ground and some stooping to slap and punch her as the incident continued.
A resident of the housing complex video recorded the incident as it occurred and commented that the girls appeared to be planning what they would do to the victim. The girl's mother was reported to be upset that no one went out to stop the assault while it was under way.
The video, while helpful in the department's investigation, also showed the ferocity of the assault, according to Jalette.
“We are very fortunate to have the video in making this case, but it is also just devastating to see what happened to this poor girl,” Jalette said.
The girl was reported have a pre-existing medical condition but Jalette said he did have information on that Tuesday. The victim was checked out at the hospital and was back home with her family, according to Paone.
The victim was reported to be a student at the Hamlet Middle School building. Some students at the school wore special T-shirts in support of the victim when they went to school on Tuesday.
School Committee Chairwoman Anita McGuire-Forcier said the school's students wanted the victim to know they were concerned about her and hoped she would come back to school.
“They just wanted to show her that she definitely has the students' support,” Forcier said. Forcier had viewed the Internet material on the incident and was troubled by it. “It just saddens me to think what she went through,” Forcier said. The juvenile girls involved were alleged to have invited the victim to the Village while professing friendship online, Forcier said.
“She really thought they were very good friends and thought she could trust them,” Forcier said of the incident. The school department does not have jurisdiction over students out of school on the weekend but has worked to improve attention to bullying incidents and the problem of student violence, according to Forcier.