Seven males sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl while 40 people watched on Facebook Live on March 19. None of the 40 people who watched it online contacted the police.
The girl’s mother, who had reported her daughter missing when she did not return from the neighborhood park, reported the crime to the authorities the following day after a friend alerted her to the footage.
Facebook took down the video when investigators contacted the company. The authorities have the video, which they are using as evidence as they build a case against the seven male suspects – six minors ranging from 14-15 and one adult. Two of the suspects are in custody now awaiting trial, and the investigation is ongoing.
This is not the first time that Facebook Live has been used as a platform to advertise and showcase a crime, and witnesses have looked on without reporting to the authorities at the time of the crime.
Heilani Tinirauarii, a senior majoring in psychology from Tahiti, said, “I blame the world we live in today. There are always so many people who want to be seen, so they tend to do stupid things or pranks. Sometimes you are not sure if it is for real or just a gimmick to get your attention.”
In January, witnesses didn’t report a Facebook Live video of a special needs young man who was beaten and tortured by four suspects. The crime was only reported after a neighbor hearing all the noise called the police; none of the online viewers reported on the incident.
Welina Mills Fetner, a sophomore majoring in music from Hauula, stated that she would not have called the authorities either, but she would have reported it on Facebook. She said, “I would have just assumed someone had posted porn, and although I disagree with it and don’t want it on my page, in the world today [porn] is not a crime.”
Tiaura Samiyou, a sophomore biology major from Hauula, said, “Parents need to monitor and be more aware of what their children are doing as a way to protect and continue to teach children the right way in which things can be done.”
NOTE: All non-attributed details are from the Huffington Post article "40 People Watch Teen's Sexual Assault on Facebook Live, Do Nothing" by David Lohr, senior crime reporter.