Target: Ryan Joseph Bingham, Mayor of Torrington, Connecticut
Goal: Demand justice for 13-year-old rape victim who was bullied by members of her community for speaking out against her attackers.
Two Torrington High School students, 18-year-olds Edgar Gonzalez and Joan Toribio, stand accused of sexual assault against a 13-year-old girl. The case has a startling resemblance to the recent Steubenville, Ohio rape case in which two high school football players were found guilty of a heinous rape. As in the Steubenville case, students from Torrington High School took to social media soon after the charges were filed to defend the accused and bully the victim. The students’ athletics director brushed aside the accusations against the students, claiming the behavior was no different from that of the students in any other community.
Torrington High’s athletes have been involved in previous separate hazing, felony robbery and assault charges on a number of occasions, but school officials insist the incidents are isolated and are not reflective of deeper issues within the school or the athletics department. The two accused athletes, Edgar Gonzalez and Joan Toribio, have been charged with three identical felonies, including second-degree sexual assault. Their cases remain sealed to the public.
The treatment of the victim, however, is open for the public to see. Social media was inundated with Torrington High School students calling the victim a “whore” who had ruined the lives of two football players. Students viciously called for punishment for the victim, and coldly told her they hoped she got what she wanted. This disgusting behavior reflects the attitude of Torrington High School officials with regards to the case. If the Steubenville case proved anything, it was that rape culture and victim blaming are rampant in today’s society. The victim does not deserve harassment, bullying, or threats. She deserves justice. Sign the petition below in support of the victim and to call for justice.
Dear Ryan Joseph Bingham,
Recently, two Torrington High School students, 18-year-old Edgar Gonzalez and Joan Toribio, were accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. The case bears a resemblance to the recent Steubenville, Ohio case in which two football players were found guilty of rape. That case showed how the town of Steubenville was complicit in the rape of the young victim and the proceeding cover-up. I am writing today to ask that Torrington not be the next Steubenville.
While students have already begun to harass the 13-year-old victim, and the Torrington High School athletics department has already brushed off the accusations as “normal behavior,” there is still time to deal with this situation justly. The victim of this horrendous attack deserves no rancor for reporting the crime. She should be supported and shielded from Torrington’s response to the crime. I hope that you will do all that you can in the fight for her justice.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Torrington High School via Facebook