Police make first arrest in Facebook Live sexual assault case

The victim has also been subject to online bullying.


Law enforcement is taking sweeping action following a horrific sexual assault streamed on Facebook Live. Chicago police report that they've made the first arrest in the case, bringing a 14-year-old boy into custody. There will be more arrests soon, according to the CPD, including a 15-year-old who's next in line. Details of the case are mostly under wraps beyond a connection between the victim and one of her attackers (their age prevents disclosing some of the facts). However, it's already clear that the livestream wasn't the end to the internet-based trauma -- in fact, it's still ongoing.

Superintendent Eddie Johnson told a media gathering that the girl in the video has been subject to "off-color comments" and other forms of online bullying. The CPD is open to the possibility of charges for anyone caught making threats against the victim, but didn't have any concrete action planned as of this writing.

The assault has already drawn attention to the ongoing problems with livestreaming, such as the challenges of enforcing policy mid-stream and a disturbing tendency for viewers to look on rather than call for help. And the arrests are likely to lay the groundwork for responses to future cases like this. However, the bullying suggests that Facebook and other social networks have more work to do. Ideally, they'd be quick to clamp down on harassment after a stream incident so that cruel commenters can't make a bad situation even worse.