Five teenagers have been charged with raping two Buffalo girls in separate incidents last year after an Erie County grand jury returned a 205-count indictment that was unsealed Tuesday, District Attorney John J. Flynn said.
"It's the biggest case that anyone can remember," Flynn said, regarding the number of criminal charges levied, though he was not certain whether there had ever been a case that generated more indictments out of the Erie County District Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors said the first incident took place Sept. 26, when the suspects are charged with breaking into a West Side residence where an 11-year-old girl was home alone. Flynn said the suspects – Bryce J. Baker , 19, of Buffalo; Abdiwahab Sabtow , 19, of Buffalo; and an unnamed 13-year-old – raped the girl, and later fled when her mother returned home, stealing a cellphone during the incident.
"This is extremely graphic, and I am not going to publicly state exactly what occurred to this child," said Flynn, who called the acts against the girl horrific.
The girl was treated at Oishei Children's Hospital for undisclosed injuries.
According the prosecutors the second incident took place Nov. 20. Prosecutors said Sabtow and two juvenile suspects, ages 13 and 14, picked up a 16-year-old girl who Flynn said they knew and offered to give her a ride. Instead of taking her to her destination, they drove to Potomac Park and raped her, Flynn said.
From there, the trio held the victim hostage, driving her to another location where they picked up Baker and an unnamed 19-year-old suspect who remains at large, officials said. The five teens are accused of raping the girl twice more, once on West Ferry Street near Broderick Park, and again at a location on Dart Street. The victim was reportedly held prisoner inside a garage for several hours before she was able to escape. Flynn said a "good Samaritan" found the victim walking barefoot on the side of the road and drove her to a location where she was able to call for help.
Flynn said 40 separate counts were filed against Sabtow, including one count of predatory sexual assault of a child; two counts of first-degree criminal sexual act; one count of second-degree burglary and one count of endangering the welfare of a child in the first case. In the second case, Sabtow was charged with one count of first-degree kidnapping; six counts of predatory sexual assault; and 16 counts of first-degree rape, among other charges.
Baker is charged with 37 separate counts, including three counts of predatory sexual assault of a child; two counts of first-degree rape; four counts of first-degree criminal sexual act; and one count each of second-degree burglary and endangering the welfare of a child in the first case. In the second case, Baker was charged with one count of first-degree kidnapping; 13 counts of first-degree rape; and 15 counts of first-degree criminal sexual act.
The other unidentified 19-year-old faces 33 charges in the Nov. 20 incident, including first- and-second-degree kidnapping; 14 counts of first-degree rape and 15 counts of first-degree criminal sexual act.
The 13-year-old suspect was charged with a total of 41 counts, including three counts of first-degree criminal sexual act; one count of second-degree burglary and one count of endangering the welfare of a child in the first case, along with first-degree kidnapping, seven counts of predatory sexual assault; 16 counts of first-degree rape and 15 counts of first-degree criminal sexual act, among other charges in the second case.
The 14-year-old suspect faces 33 charges, including first-degree kidnapping; 16 counts of first-degree rape; and 15 counts of first-degree criminal sexual act.
Both juveniles are being charged as adults, though their names were not released.
The three 19-year-olds face 25-years-to-life in prison if convicted. Flynn said that, "due to the juvenile statute rules, the 13- and 14-year-olds charged in the case could received only a maximum of 15 years in prison, if convicted on all the charges against them."
"It depends on whether or not they have any priors," Flynn said.
It is unusual that offenders that young are charged as adults, Flynn added.
"The only reason why I can have jurisdiction of a 13-year-old is because there was a sexually motivated crime that occurred," he said. "Normally, the only crime I have jurisdiction over a 13-year-old is for murder."
Defense lawyers could petition to have the charges transferred to Family Court, but Flynn said that is something he would vigorously fight against. He said the 13- and 14-year-olds deserve to spend as much time in prison as possible, despite their young years.
"There is nothing more that I want to see than justice done for this 11-year-old girl and this 16-year-old girl," Flynn said.