A group of Latino-based organizations is fuming that some people are seemingly blaming an 11-year-old girl for her alleged gang rape.
Nineteen people, including four Cleveland High School students, have been charged in the sixth-grader's rape. All of the suspects are black.
Cleveland police said the girl was assaulted inside an abandoned trailer over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Latino leaders said the victim, who is said to be Hispanic, is being victimized again by community activist Quanell X, who has been quoted as saying, "Hispanics have a right to be angry with black men who ravaged a young girl, but the first house you need to stop at is her mama and daddy's house."
"Victimizing a victim is unacceptable," said Yolanda Black Navarro with Latinas Enhancing Advocacy and Development. "Transferring the responsibility of 19 perpetrators to the shoulders of this child's parents is unspeakable."
"This child is considered a child. She is a a victim, and there's no question about that," said Sylvia Gonzalez with the League of United Latin American Citizens.
Houston City Councilwoman Jolanda Jones said she does not understand why race is an issue in the case.
"Color has nothing to do with this," she said. "News flash: I'm black. I'm here. She is a baby. That is a baby. I am irritated, frustrated, and disappointed by anyone who would blame her for anything. Shame on them."
Quanell X would not go on camera, but he did admit to KPRC Local 2 that he does question the girl's home life and how she dressed.
He also defended himself by releasing the following statement.
"The statement that has been attributed to me is not in context or exactly what I said," Quanell X said.
After death threats and phone calls, Child Protective Services put the 11-year-old in a foster home for her own safety, officials said.
The case has also hurt the Cleveland community by creating a racial divide since the defendants are black and the victim is Hispanic, residents said.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Cleveland police at 281-592-2622.