Published July 19, 2012
MEXICO CITY – The families of women and girls sexually assaulted on a church camp-out near Mexico City expressed anger Thursday after television stations broadcast a video of police posing highly graphic questions to suspects arrested in the crime.
Christian Youth Movement spokeswoman Aletia Santoscoy asked the media to stop playing the interrogation because it was affecting the girls' emotional recovery.
"It is humiliating to be reminded through a video about the degrading events that caused a harsh emotional crisis in our daughters, our friends, our families," Santoscoy said reading from a statement. "We don't want to feel assaulted, injured or humiliated again. They violently took away our safety and the illusion of our girls."
In the video, three suspects answered questions posed by a person off camera, describing how they sexually abused five women and girls. The questions were detailed: how long did the rape last, was the attack vaginal or anal and where did they ejaculate.
Televisa and Milenio networks aired the interrogation which was played for reporters at a Wednesday press conference announcing the arrests of 17 suspects, including two women, in the attack at a park outside Mexico's capital. Anchors in both television channels have apologized on behalf of the companies and said they would not play the interviews again.
Mexico State Attorney General's Alfedo Castillo told Milenio television he didn't know the families of the victims would see the video, which aired live during prime-time newscasts.
The suspects were paraded before the news media Wednesday. The video with the interrogation followed right after. The broadcasters said they didn't know the questions would be that graphic before they decided to air the entire press conference live.
Besides the description of the rapes, the men also confessed to having participated in beatings and robberies at the site where 90 members of the Christian Youth Movement were camping last Friday. Authorities said the attackers went on an hours-long rampage at the eco-park on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City.
Attorney Wendy Arteaga also complained on Thursday that the girls did not receive proper treatment by the doctor at the prosecutors' office. Some of the victims suffered from hypothermia and showed other injuries, she said.
"The doctor never explained to them the health condition they were in," Arteaga said at a press conference. "They had to wait an hour or more at the office to give their testimonies."
Arteaga said the attention toward the women and girls got better as the attack was publicized in the news.
She also said authorities could have prevented the brutal attack by increasing safety in the hilly area close to the lower flanks of the Popocatepetl Volcano. Hikers suffered a similar mass robbery and rape attack in February at a nearby site.
The victims' representatives did not say whether families would sue the government. For now, relatives will follow the case and are hopeful the assailants will be prosecuted and sentenced for the crimes, lawyers said.
A judge will decide Friday whether to charge the 17 suspects based on evidence presented by Mexico state prosecutors. Authorities have said some of the victims have recognized 12 of the 17 gang members arrested Wednesday.