US & Canada

Facebook Live victim 'afraid to go home'

Chicago police uniform Image copyright Getty Images

A teenage girl who police say was raped during a Facebook Live broadcast is too scared to return to her Chicago home, her mother has said.

The 15-year-old, who is currently staying with relatives, has been subject to an online and in-person harassment campaign.

People on Facebook have threatened "they are going to get" her daughter, the 32-year-old woman told US media.

The BBC is not identifying the mother in order to protect the girl's privacy.

Around 40 people were said to have been watching the livestream but nobody reported the incident to police.

The girl has been afraid to return to the Lawndale neighbourhood where she lives.

Her mother says local children have been ringing her doorbell looking for the girl.

"This is just disturbing and to think the kids think it is funny," she said, adding that she now wants to leave the crime-plagued west Chicago neighbourhood.

"I can't stay here," she said on Wednesday after being reunited with her daughter.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Chicago Supt Eddie Johnson

Chicago police found the girl one day after she went missing and contacted Facebook to have the video removed.

The girl is now out of hospital, but has not yet returned home.

A relative of the girl says he was the last to see her before the alleged attack, after the two attended church together on Sunday.

"Nobody deserves that. No human being deserves for that to happen to them," he told local media, adding that he suspects local "thugs" committed the attack.

Mr King said a local group of children are "holding an entire community hostage".

"I literally saw adults, 60 years old, my elders, my parents' age, cringing in fear," he told the Chicago Tribune.

No arrests have yet been made, but a spokesman for Chicago police says they have conducted several interviews with potential suspects and they are "making good progress" identifying the assailants.

A spokeswoman for Facebook refused to comment on this specific case, but said they do not allow this kind of content.

"We take our responsibility to keep people safe on Facebook very seriously and will remove videos that depict sexual assault and are shared to glorify violence."

In January, Chicago police arrested four people following a separate incident in which a man's alleged assault was live streamed, also on Facebook Live.

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