Parents of girl charged in sex ring case

Posted: July 15, 2009 05:48 PM

COMANCHE COUNTY, Okla. - The parents of a 12-year-old girl accused of taking part in a sex ring with U.S. marines, are the latest to be charged in the case. Wednesday, Comanche County prosecutors charged the girl's mother and father with enabling child neglect.

The parents told investigators they thought their daughter was staying with a friend, when police said she was actually taking part in sex parties with marines and a Fletcher woman. The District Attorney said the parents failed to provide proper supervision for their daughter, which ultimately led to her being raped.

He said their claim they did not know what she was doing, may be the problem. They hung their heads low as they were escorted in and out of court by their attorney.

"The degree of neglect in this case is just atrocious," said District Attorney Fred Smith.

Which is why Smith said a felony charge of enabling child neglect is warranted.

"Parents have an obligation to care for their children. You can't simply turn your child over to a person if you don't even know their last name, you don't know where they live, you can't find their house, you may or may not know their correct phone number and allow them to stay with this person weeks or months at a time, without at least checking on them to make sure their okay," said Smith.

Court records show the girl's parents told investigators they thought their daughter was staying with a friend, who was supposedly Amy Rivera's niece. Instead, police said she was staying with Rivera who would take her to parties where she would have sex with marines.

"They basically surrendered their daughter to a person that they knew nothing about, which resulted in her being exploited by Amy Rivera," said Smith.

The parents' attorney disagrees. "I think it's a rush to judgement," said Attorney Art Mata.

The parents were booked into the county jail and immediately released on $2,500 bond.

Also Wednesday, 7NEWS learned an arrest warrant has been issued for another U.S. marine accused of being involved in the sex ring. We're told he's currently stationed in California.