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Activists Demand Systemic Change In Protest Outside Motel Where Girl, 10, Was Sexually Assaulted: 'This Was A Mausoleum Of Horror!'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Activists turned out Wednesday in front of the Grand Motel in the South Side's Washington Heights neighborhood, in support of a little girl who was sexually assaulted there last October.

CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini was the first to expose a series of sexual assaults against the 10-year-old girl, and a failure to protect the child and arrest her abusers.

As CBS 2's Marissa Parra reported, a coalition of activists on Wednesday demanded local and state reforms.

The CPD said it is looking into why the detective on the case failed to make an arrest after the girl's rape kit match. In a statement within the last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the handling of the case a "systemic failure."

But activists want more than words.

"Protect our Black girls!" the activists said at the protest outside the Grand Motel, at 10022 S. Halsted St. "Save our children!"

They were there for the little girl who for years suffered abuse in silence, failed by the systems designed to protect her.

"This was a mausoleum of horror!" said activist Eric Russell. "We are outraged as a community!"

Our CBS 2 investigators revealed that back in October, it was at the Grand Motel that the young Black girl, just 10 years old, was sexually assaulted by a man almost five times her age.

As CBS 2's Savini and his team unraveled, the girl was sexually assaulted not once, not twice, but multiple times by at least five separate men across the city – even over state lines.

"So many people have failed this child," Russell said.

Until CBS 2's investigation aired, none of the five men had been charged. The man suspected in the Grand Motel assault still has not been,

In the case of the Grand Motel assault, employees called police. But officers never took her to the hospital for a rape kit or evaluation.

The Department of Children and Family Services had been monitoring the girl since she was 6 years old. They had over a dozen reports of her being neglected and abused by the men, and yet she wasn't taken into protective custody until she was found at the Grand Motel.

"The hotel staff did their job by reporting the incident, and nobody answered their call," said activist Tio Hardiman. "Imagine a 10-year-old girl harmed like that and no one answers for your daughter."

And the men in this case? One of them – Samuel Brown, 37 – was finally arrested after CBS 2 Investigators uncovered a rape kit that matched his DNA, even though police had the results for months.

A 22-year-old man is also reported to have taken little girl from Chicago to a home in Gary, Indiana, where he is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting her.

The child was gone for days when police finally got a tip and traced the suspect's cell phone number. He was eventually arrested – but only on misdemeanor charges.

Activists have been left to wonder – where would the investigation be without our report?

"It was amazing that this was so well-buried, and without Dave Savini of CBS News, this would have stayed there," said activist Brenda Myers-Powell.

Chicago Police said they have an internal investigation, even meeting with activists at the scene along with DCFS.

But the activists said they will not be done until they see accountability and systemic reforms.

"We want to see the walk. We don't want to hear the talk," Myers-Powell said, "and that's what I want them to do – do what I pay them for, to get these type of predators off the street."

Activists on Wednesday said they are planning to protest each month until every single one of her abusers is arrested and charged.


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