The victim (not shown) is an Orthodox Jewish girl from Crown Heights
A Brooklyn girl was robbed of her teenage years by a gang of creeps who repeatedly raped her, beat her and pimped her out, prosecutors said Wednesday.
But the brave teen - who was brutalized for eight years starting at 13 - still managed to finish school, enroll in college and gather the strength to report the horrific abuse.
"It's hard to imagine something more terrible than this," said her college professor, a former prosecutor and the first person the victim confided with.
The Orthodox Jewish girl from Crown Heights was first raped in a park by Damien Crooks, 31, and Jamali Brockett, 27, in 2003, according to court records. Jawara Brockett, 33, joined them in raping the teen in 2007, and Darrell Dula, 24, did the same in 2010 after she refused to help Crooks recruit other girls for prostitution, prosecutors said.
All four have been arrested and were charged Wednesday.
Until recently, the suspects continually threatened to harm her family if she reported them. When she was forced to have sex with strangers, they kept all the money.
Crooks "even sold her on the street for $20 to a passerby," said Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.
She decided to come forward after Crooks told her he'll do the same things to her younger sister, prosecutors said.
Despite this horrid ordeal, the victim managed to pull through and seek a degree in criminal justice.
"She did a great job segregating whatever happened in her life," said the college professor. "She's incredibly smart."
Crooks, who has 37 prior arrests and six convictions, was ordered held on a $1 million bail by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Joseph McKay.
"The recitation of what he's charged with is frightening. Very very frightening," the judge said.
Victim Suffered Rapes for Years, Prosecutors Say
Four men terrorized a young woman in Brooklyn for nearly a decade, coercing her to have sex with them and others and issuing threats to ensure her silence, prosecutors charged on Wednesday.
The victim first encountered two of the defendants, Damien Crooks and Jamali Brockett, in 2003, when she was 13, the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, said.
“The two violently raped and assaulted this child in a neighborhood park,” Mr. Hynes said. “Soon after, they forced her to have sex for money by repeatedly beating and raping her.”
Similar assaults took place over the next eight years, Mr. Hynes said, while the victim lived with her family and completed high school and college. The defendants intimidated the victim into silence and at one point forced her to have sex with someone who paid $20 to one or more of the defendants, Mr. Hynes added.
Mr. Crooks, 31, was charged with four counts of rape and two counts of sex trafficking, and Mr. Brockett, 27, was charged with rape and compelling prostitution. His brother, Jawara Brockett, 33, and a fourth defendant, Darrell Dula, 24, were charged with rape.
Mr. Hynes said that Mr. Crooks and Jamali Brockett had “terrorized the child for years, preventing her from reporting the violence by threatening to harm her family if she told anyone.”
In one instance, he said, Mr. Crooks, Jamali Brockett and Jawara Brockett raped the victim on a rooftop while her brother was nearby but was unaware of what was happening. A break in the case came about a year and a half ago, prosecutors said, when the assailants told the victim that they intended to assault a member of her family.
Around that time, prosecutors said, the victim approached a professor who was teaching a college class she was taking. The professor, Jeff Kern, is a former assistant Brooklyn district attorney. He said that the victim approached him after class one day and began discussing problems she was having. Eventually, Mr. Kern said, he persuaded the victim to speak to the authorities.