|Calgary police are investigating the shocking assault of a young girl on Monday, September 7, 2010. afternoon in a field near Clarence Sansom Junior High, in northeast Calgary, Alta. A teenage boy was arrested and is facing charges. DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI AGENCY
CALGARY -- Police say a pre-teen girl, said to have had sex with a 16-year-old boy, met him on a social networking site a week before the incident.
On Tuesday, police said they had yet to speak with the 12-year-old girl, seen having sex with the teen in what police are investigating as an assault.
The incident occurred in a Pineridge schoolyard Monday afternoon while a group of eight other youth appeared to be looking on, some from nearby bleachers.
Staff at the school, Clarence Sansom at 5840 24 Ave. N.E., called police and videotaped some of the aftermath of the assault, footage they handed over to cops.
Child abuse Staff Sgt. Leah Barber said the pair met on a social networking site "and agreed to meet," at the school grounds, along with the other group.
"This wasn't a random attack or a mob attack on a child walking in the park," she said.
"While the group was sitting on the bleachers, the boy and girl became involved in a sexual act."
While a phone was seized from one of the youths, police said they currently have no indications anyone recorded footage of the incident.
The 12-year-old girl, who witnesses described as unable to stand by herself when emergency crews arrived, was taken to hospital and later released to her parents.
Police are investigating it as an assault given a 12-year-old cannot consent to having sex with someone aged 16.
They also said alcohol is believed to be a factor.
What role the girl played is still under investigation.
The other individuals are now considered witnesses, with no indications they were "cheering on" the sexual encounter, Barber said.
While police are considering charges of sexual interference and sex assault, they said whether those are pursued will depend on what the pre-teen has to say of the incident and how it unfolded.
There is also the possibility no charges will be pressed, Barber said.
She said the case underscores inherent danger found online, especially when youth are involved.
"Anytime on chat sites when you are meeting people you have never met before you have no idea what that person is about," she said.
"Whenever you mix alcohol and youth, it is usually a disaster waiting to happen "¦ in this case, I don't think alcohol helped (the situation) any."
She would not confirm the possibility the 12-year-old claimed to be older than she actually is.
"I can't say for sure if she was always honest about how old she was," she said.
Rasheda Bee was in her house nearby watching the scenario unfold and trying to make sense of what she was seeing.
She said she saw the teen on top of the girl on the ground and what appeared to be the pair engaged in sex for at least 15 minutes.
"I was thinking to myself, 'what is going on?' I couldn't figure it out, I couldn't believe my eyes," she said.
She was about to phone police when she saw cruisers arrive and the girl, left sitting on the ground unable to stand, carried onto a stretcher.
"Then I knew it was something not good," she said.
"If I had known they were doing something bad I would have called police, I am feeling guilty myself."
Const. Kathy Macdonald with the crime prevention unit, unable to comment on the specific incident, said it underscores the reality that perils exists for children online and that parents have to be extra vigilant in ensuring they are taking precautions when meeting people on line and especially if those lead to in-person encounters.
She said parents cannot fully trust their children will simply heed their warnings to be careful but must take steps to get involved and discuss what that means given the Internet is used for everything from luring to cyber-bulling and grooming by sexual predators.
"I would say with children aged 13 to 18 years old, it is still a good idea to be involved," she said.