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Seven girls raped at Mexican church camp-out

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 16th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Seven girls were raped after a gang of armed people invaded a church camp-out near Mexico City. About a dozen suspects went on an hours-long rampage of beatings, robberies and rape, authorities say. Several campers were beaten before the suspects fled in two stolen vehicles.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Authorities say that about 90 youths sponsored by a church known as the Chains of the Holy Trinity were camping at an eco-park on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City, close to the lower flanks of the Popocatepetl volcano. The camp-out appeared to have been a sort of spiritual retreat.

The office said investigators were pursuing two lines of inquiry, but did not reveal what they were. It is not clear if police officers were patrolling the eco-park where the attack happened on Friday night. It's not yet known whether officers were on duty at the time.

Campers and hikers have been targeted in the past by common criminals. Mexico City is a popular site for violent drug-related crime.

Police only found out about the crimes when an adult organizer of the camp-out showed up at police offices to report the attack.

In a statement, the government said it had witness' descriptions of the attackers and pledged to catch and punish those responsible.

Mexico's most populous state was ruled by the president-elect, Enrique Peņa Nieto, between 2005-2011. Human rights groups complain that the state has one of the worst records in the country on violence against women. On Wednesday Amnesty International singled out the state for abuses against women and said Mexican police solved one in every 21 rape cases.

Although all of these victims were Mexican nationals, U.S. churches and ministries use similar camps in this area and throughout Mexico.

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