The case against five men charged in the gang rape of a 7-year-old girl in New Jersey has taken an unexpected turn.
 
According to the Associated Press, the child’s stepfather appeared at the Trenton courthouse April 8 claiming that three of the five accused men were actually trying to help the girl.
 
“These three had nothing to do with nothing,” the stepfather, whose name has not been released, said of Timear Lewis, 19, Gregory Joseph Leary, 20, and another unnamed juvenile suspect. “I don’t know why they locked them up.”
 
A total of five men, including two adults and three juveniles, have been charged for raping the girl in a crime-ridden Trenton high-rise apartment, according to a release issued by the Trenton Police Department.
 
The child’s 15-year-old stepsister attended a party at the Rowan Towers apartment complex and according to police engaged in sexual acts with male partygoers for cash. She then allegedly took money from the men so they could touch the little girl, and that escalated to gang rape.
 
Leary is charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child for having sex with the 15-year-old victim. Lewis has also been charged and is currently incarcerated at the Mercer County, N.J. Correctional Center.
 
The three juveniles charged in the case are awaiting an arraignment hearing.
 
During a press conference, Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer thanked local residents for coming forward with information about the crime. He said, Certainly in this instance, good people came forward to try to get justice for this 7-year-old angel, who was brutally gang-raped by a bunch of pedophile animals.”
 
The AP reported that Leary’s attorney dismissed the claim of rape completely, saying the girl was mistaken because she had received gifts, toys and money. However Jennifer Downing, the prosecutor on the case, said witnesses told police they saw Leary on top of the girl, raping her.
 
Police said additional arrests associated with this case are anticipated.
 
Gregory Joseph Leary (left) and Timear Lewis (right).