Brazil: More Than 30 Men Involved in Gang Rape of 16-Year-Old Girl

Rio de Janeiro police chiefs attend a news conference on the investigations on the gang rape of a teenage girl in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro's Police Chief for Internet crimes Alessandro Thiers (L), Civil Police Chief Fernando Veloso (C) and Police Chief for crimes against minors Cristiana Honorato attend a news conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 27, 2016.RICARDO MORAES / Reuters

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By Associated Press

Police said Friday that they have identified and are searching for four of the more than 30 men suspected in the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl.

The announcement came as acting President Michel Temer called an emergency meeting of the security ministers for each of Brazil's states. They will consider how to handle gender-related crimes, specifically as this case rocks Latin America's largest nation and highlights its endemic problem of violence against women.

"It's absurd that in the 21st century we have to live with barbarous crimes like this," Temer said in a statement. He promised to create a federal police force unit tasked with tackling crimes against women.

Brazil, a conservative, majority-Catholic nation of 200 million people, has long struggled to curb violence against women.

The assault came to light after several men joked about the attack online, posting graphic photos and videos of the unconscious, naked teen on Twitter.

Police also asked for the public's help to track down the four men and identify the others. Local reports said more than 800 people had called a hotline that was set up to share information.

Authorities say the rape happened last Saturday while the girl was visiting her boyfriend in a shantytown on the west side of Rio de Janeiro.

At a news conference Friday, police said the girl reported being raped by 33 men and regaining consciousness the following day. Police said they had been unable to confirm exactly how many men may have taken part.

The girl's 19-year-old boyfriend was one of the men being sought, but police said they did not know whether he may have been one of the attackers. Police said the men were armed, though it wasn't clear if the weapons were used to intimidate the victim during the attack.

Brazil, a conservative, majority-Catholic nation of 200 million people, has long struggled to curb violence against women. A study by the Brazilian Center for Latin American Studies found that between 1980 and 2010, more than 92,000 women were killed in crimes related to gender, involving incidents from rape to domestic abuse.

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