After 7-Year-Old's Alleged Gang Rape, Tenants to Talk With Owners of Troubled Building

Residents say management evasive after what cops say was gang-rape of child 10 days ago

Tenants of Trenton's troubled Rowan Tower say the building's management has been evasive when addressing what police say was the gang-rape of a 7-year-old girl 10 days ago.
Interstate Realty Management Company will meet with residents Wednesday to discuss the incident.
Tenants say building security has been inadequate for more than a decade.
IRM told The Associated Press the company did not have a firm policy on informing tenants when crimes take place inside its properties.
Residents say they had been aware of stepped-up security after a home invasion and drive-by shooting a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, two adults and three juveniles were charged with gang-raping the 7-year-old girl who was sold by her 15-year-old stepsister during a party at the complex on March 28.

The teen went to a party with some men on the 13th floor of the Rowan Towers apartment building, and the younger girl tagged along because she worried about her stepsister's safety, police said.

The 15-year-old sold sex to men in the room, then took money to let them touch the younger girl, and the touching turned to forcible sex as at least seven men raped the 7-year-old, police said.

Before the Saturday announcement of the five arrests, the 15-year-old had been charged with promoting prostitution, aggravated sexual assault and other crimes; police have not released her name. A 20-year-old man had been charged with having sex with the 15-year-old.

Gregory Joseph Leary was booked Wednesday night on charges of statutory rape and endangering the welfare of a child. Under New Jersey law, the 15-year-old is too young to consent to sex.

Leary was being held Thursday in jail on a $200,000 cash bond. Jail officials said Leary does not have a listed attorney.

Mayor Doug Palmer said he met with the victim's relatives at his office on Thursday to offer help and make sure they were able to move out of the neighborhood over safety concerns.

"We made sure they got out of the area," he said Saturday afternoon, before the news conference.

He credited the police force for its hard work but said "we're still not finished." He pledged to spare no expense "to make sure that everyone responsible is brought to justice."

"We're still asking the community to let us know if they have any more information on this heinous crime," he said.

Palmer met with the parents, the 7-year-old girl and her two younger siblings. The woman is the mother of the 7-year-old girl, and the man she lives with is the father of the 15-year-old. The man and woman also have two toddlers together.

He said police officers had taken the case "very personally."

Police Director Irving Bradley would only say "it's still an active investigation."

Police earlier in the week were urging residents to come forward, but neighbors said they were scared of retaliation from gangs that prowl the streets if they spoke up.

Rowan Towers sits on a stretch of West State Street near downtown Trenton and is surrounded by blocks of abandoned, boarded-up homes. It's fronted by a well-manicured lawn and features a colorful playgrod and a basketball court. An American flag hangs from a pole to the right of the front door.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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