SPOKANE, Wash. - She's already lived a troubled life moving in and out of foster homes, but now a 10-year-old girl has allegedly been raped and the Spokane Police Department is investigating.
Detectives say it happened after the girl ran away from the Excelsior Youth Center in the 3700 block of West Indian Trail Road.
The 13-year-old rape suspect is now in custody, locked up in Juvenile Detention center.
The Excelsior Youth Center trying to get troubled kids back on the right track, but the staff doesn't have any legal authority to keep their clients from walking away, even if they're just 10-years-old.
Excelsior is a non-profit group home for foster kids who can no longer safely live with their parents.
“A lot of these kids have troubled pasts from their home life, so they are wards of the state, they go and live there,” said Spokane Police Lieutenant Steve Wohl.
Detectives say the 10-year-old girl was doing well in Excelsior's school, but on Christmas Eve she sneaked away with a friend. The pair went to a nearby vacant home and spent the night. A 13-year-old Excelsior boy showed up and that's when the sexual assaults allegedly happened.
The victim returned to Excelsior and reported the incidents to the staff.
“They're working with us, they want to do right by the kids who are staying there and by the citizens, so as soon as they found out these kids had run away and a crime had occurred, they immediately called police,” said Lt. Wohl.
The child was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Sexual assault kits were completed and the 13-year-old arrested.
Police say a young girl who had already lived a troubled life has been victimized again.
“She's a 10-year-old girl, I mean, just a baby, and so now she unfortunately has had this horrendous thing happen to her, that will follow her,” said Lt. Wohl. “And so these are the cases that really affect the detectives that work here in my unit and it's something that's going to affect her as well and it's sad situation all around.”
Officials at Excelsior say state law specificity prohibits the staff there from forcibly detaining their clients, or even following them, if they walk away from the facility.
In this case, Excelsior did report the 10-year-old as a runaway as soon as the staff realized she was missing. They are also working with the police department to get a speedier response from patrol officers when the runaways are especially young or suffering from acute mental illness.
The young suspect at the detention center is now facing two child rape charges and will not be returning to the group home.