updated 7/2/2008 4:35:50 PM ET 2008-07-02T20:35:50

The last defendant sentenced in a group sexual assault on an 11-year-old girl was ordered Wednesday to serve five years in prison.

Seventeen-year-old Terrell Jefferson was the 14th person punished for his role in the Labor Day 2006 assault. Authorities said as many as 20 men and boys engaged in sex acts with the girl over several hours. A 16-year-old girl was accused of helping get the younger girl to take part.

Jefferson, who was 15 but was charged as an adult, has apologized to the victim and said he takes full responsibility for his actions. Judge Jeffrey A. Wagner told Jefferson in court Wednesday that the girl has had a difficult time.

"She's lost a lot and that's because of your participation in these events, so the court can't overstate it enough — that you're one of the people responsible for creating this situation," he said.

Most got sentences of four to 15 years
The people convicted ranged in age from 13 to 40 at the time of the assault. Most received prison sentences of four to 15 years. The 40-year-old man got 25 years, while the 16-year-old girl was sentenced to up to three years in a juvenile facility.

Court records from the case reveal the child was assaulted over several hours at the older girl's home. Authorities said initially that the 16-year-old had orchestrated the encounter, but later said she had taken part, but in a lesser way.

Some neighbors say they still haven't recovered from the shock of what happened on their block. Others claim the males are victims, too.

"We don't talk about it. It's something that happened and we choose to forget it," said Jackie Hawkins, 55, who said she was the grandmother of one of the defendants. "This whole neighborhood is close, and everybody's watching out for everyone else now."

Matthew Torbenson, an assistant district attorney who prosecuted the juveniles, said he hoped it was a one-time aberration.

"The really scary thing is, during court proceedings I heard members of the perpetrators' families saying this kind of behavior is not uncommon," Torbenson said.

The lawyer representing the girl's family declined an interview request.

A number of women in the girl's neighborhood said the males involved were good people who made bad decisions.

"Five years? Ten years? That's ridiculous," said LaToya Bell, 22, sitting on a porch with four others who nodded in agreement. "They (are) getting time for nothing. That girl, she knew what she was doing."

Denying responsibility by saying the girl appeared willing is contemptible, said Cordelia Anderson, a child sexual abuse expert in Minneapolis.

"It sounds like a scene from pornography, where children or women are often ordered to say they like it even when they're brutalized," Anderson said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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