A Maryland teen will be tried as an adult for the alleged rape of his 8-year-old female cousin.
Authorities say 14-year-old Solomon Pule was turned into the police by his mother. His mother says she sent the two kids to clean the living room but went downstairs to check on them when she felt it was too quiet.
According to reports, the boy’s mother found the teen “mounting his young cousin on a love seat.” The report notes that “the little girl’s skirt was lifted, Pule’s pants were down, and a pair of scissors sat next to the two.”
The girl told police “he told me if I scream that he was going to cut me. He shoved his thing in me.”
Pule reportedly confessed to the crime when police interrogated him. He is being held at Baltimore City Detention Center and has been charged with first and second-degree rape.
It is rare that a 14-year-old is charged as an adult but in Maryland the law states that anyone over the age of 14 can be tried as an adult if they “committed a crime that, if committed by an adult, would be punishable by death or life in prison.” The law also states anyone 16 and older can be tried as an adult for charges like kidnapping, murder, rape, and robbery.
Adam Rosenberg, the executive director at Baltimore Child Abuse Center, says “in 2013 alone, we saw 155 cases where the offender was age nine to age fourteen. Young offenders happen with some degree of frequency.”
He noted that prosecutors need to ask a lot of questions before charging a young teen as an adult. “Has he been a victim of sexual abuse, has he been a witness to domestic violence, and unfortunately we know in our work that children who have been witnesses to these cases or who have been victims themselves can become perpetrators if they’re not given the right treatment,” Rosenberg said.