5-year-old girl raped on US Embassy grounds in India, officials say

International News

An Indian security guard patrols outside the main gate of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India, in a September 2012 file photo (AFP via CBS News)

NEW DELHI (CBS NEWS) — A five-year-old girl has allegedly been raped in the living quarters for local staff at the U.S. Embassy in India’s capital.

The victim is the daughter of a member of the housekeeping staff at the embassy.

The 25-year-old man accused of the attack is a neighbor of the victim, police said on Wednesday. He has been arrested and detained pending trial. Both families live on embassy grounds, but the suspect is not a member of the embassy staff. His father is employed by the embassy.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi told CBS News Thursday that they were “deeply disturbed by the alleged misconduct.”

“We promptly took action when we were informed of the allegation, and brought this matter to the attention of the police,” the spokesperson said, adding that the embassy was “cooperating fully” with Indian authorities.

The incident allegedly took place Saturday morning. According to Delhi police, the girl was playing outside her house when the suspect lured her into his home with cellphone games and then raped her.

The girl’s mother first approached police on Sunday and the victim was taken for a medical examination. Doctors confirmed that she had been raped, according to police.

India has a dismal record of sexual violence against women and girls. Rape laws were toughened amid outrage and protests over the horrific gang rape of a medical student in Delhi in 2012.

The four men convicted of that fatal gang rape have been sentenced to death by hanging. The executions are set to take place soon, as the men are currently exhausting their final legal options.

The tougher rape laws have made little difference on the ground, however. According to government data released last month, the latest available, 34,000 women were raped in India during 2018, which means a rape was reported every 15 minutes on average.

A Thomson Reuters Foundation poll in 2018 found India ranked on top of the list of the most dangerous countries in the world for women.

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