ACWORTH, Ga. – Three boys ages 8 and 9 are under arrest for allegedly raping an 11-year-old girl in the woods near an apartment complex, police say.
The girl's mother reported the alleged rape Sunday, leading authorities to charge the boys with rape, kidnapping and false imprisonment charges.
The victim alleges that she was playing with the boys in the yard when they took her into the woods against her will and one of the boys raped her, said Acworth police Capt. Wayne Dennard.
"The juvenile victim stated that an 8-year-old boy and two 9-year-old boys that she had been playing with earlier pulled her into a wooded area, where one of the boys raped her," Dennard said.
The three boys — an 8-year-old and two 9-year-olds — were charged with rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment and sexual assault, Dennard said. They were due in juvenile court Monday afternoon. Their names were being withheld because of their age.
Acworth Police Chief Mike Wilkie said one of the boys was accused of threatening to hit the girl with a rock before the assault occurred.
Wilkie also said the investigation is "far from over," and investigators are looking into claims that after the incident, the girl talked about it with her friends at a slumber party.
The father of the 8-year-old boy said his son had been falsely accused. Any sexual activity was consensual, and the girl accused her playmates only after her parents had learned she had sexual relations, said Brandon LeBlanc.
"There was no violence involved," LeBlanc said. "This is a clear case of a girl who didn't want to get in trouble with her parents."
He added, "In order to save her hide, she tried to blame it on rape."
The girl's mother, however, told WGCL TV in Atlanta, "They do need to be taught a lesson because if they do it to her, they could do it to somebody else," the victim's mother said. "And who knows when they become teenagers what they can do to other girls."
The incident involves children from a working class apartment complex on the northern outskirts of metro Atlanta.
LeBlanc said the kids all played together, biking or throwing a ball around in the apartment complex's parking lot.
He said his son is a third grader at a local Baptist school who loves the Atlanta Falcons and is a batboy for his church's softball league.
Cobb County District Attorney Pat Head said the boys could not be charged with felony crimes because of their age but could be tried for delinquent acts that could place them in a juvenile facility for up to five years.
Juvenile Court Judge A. Gregory Poole issued a gag order preventing the lawyers from commenting further.
Acworth, 30 miles northwest of Atlanta along the shores of Lake Allatoona, is a town of about 17,000.
Acworth police said their department has never before investigated allegations of rape where all the parties were this young.
"This wouldn't be normal anywhere, but especially not Acworth," Dennard said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.