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Chilean boy tortured and killed after being ‘falsely accused’ of rape

The parents of a five-year-old girl beat a young teen for 12 hours before killing him

Santiago de Chile

In a year marked by cases that highlight the vulnerable state of Chilean children under state care, the brutal murder of a 13-year-old orphan has disturbed Chilean society and opened a debate about why state agencies are failing to protect children.

The Temuco courthouse seeing the case.
The Temuco courthouse seeing the case. Poder Judicial Chile

Four adults from the city of Temuco, 700 kilometers south of Santiago, have been arrested for allegedly torturing a boy whom they thought had sexually abused a five-year old girl.

The girl was the daughter of two of the suspects. However, forensic evidence shows no indication that she was raped, according to prosecutors.

The prosecutor, Roberto Garrido, told the court that the girl’s father, along with a friend, suspected that his daughter had been abused on Sunday afternoon and went looking for the boy he thought was responsible for the crime. Garrido said the two suspects found the boy and took him to a slum dwelling, where they tied him to a chair and beat him for 12 hours.

With pain, and I would almost say with shame, we’ve seen occasions where Chilean institutions were not up to the task

President Michelle Bachelet

According to the prosecution, as reported by the newspaper Austral, the girl’s mother and the owner of the home came by later, and the mother slashed the boy’s face with scissors. On early Monday morning, the couple strangled the boy using a pillow and a cloth bag.

“An examination was carried out on the daughter of two of the suspects, which determined that she did not exhibit any genital lesions compatible with rape,” said Garrido as he presented his case in court.

The suspects attempted to hide the boy’s body, but a witness alerted the police, the court heard.

According to the investigation the boy had been under state care since 2014. Earlier this year he was living in a home offered by Chile’s child protection agency, SENAME, which he later abandoned.

President Michelle Bachelet has spoken out about the vulnerability of state wards.
President Michelle Bachelet has spoken out about the vulnerability of state wards.

SENAME has come under fire recently for failing to protect the country’s most vulnerable children. In October, Chile admitted to the death of 865 minors under state custody between 2005 and June of 2016.

“With pain, and I would almost say with shame, we’ve seen occasions where Chilean institutions were not up to the task, which is what happened with those children whose rights were violated,” said Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, earlier this week.

The alleged murder also opens the debate about mob justice, which is a social reality in a number of South and Central American countries.

English version by Alyssa McMurtry.

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