Story highlights

Four Rhode Island girls accused of attacking school friend

Man who filmed the incident and posted it on YouTube says he thought it was a prank

Police say other cell phone videos of incident were confiscated at school

CNN —  

A man filmed a group of girls attacking a 12-year-old girl in his neighbor’s garden, and told Providence, Rhode Island, police he thought it was a prank.

Two of the girls have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy, and two others have been charged with simple assault and conspiracy, said Providence Police Sgt. Matthew Ryan.

The 12-year-old suffered two black eyes, a bruised nose and bite marks on her hands. Holly Gingerella, the girl’s mother, said, “My daughter is doing OK. She doesn’t look very good, but she’s a strong child.” She said her daughter has a shunt in her brain to aid with a medical problem, but the shunt was not damaged in the assault.

The man posted the video of the incident on YouTube, where he shows his face to the camera and describes the attack, “Kids are (expletive) sitting outside for like 20 minutes saying, ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that. You gotta keep going, you gotta keep fighting.’ They’re like planning it so they can just record it.” While he speaks, girls can be heard shouting in the background.

Ryan said additional cell phone video of the attack was turned in to police after it was confiscated at Woonsocket Middle School. The principal’s office was closed when CNN tried to contact the school.

Ryan said the man is not being charged and is not involved in the case now that the video is no longer in his possession. Gingerella said she was “horrified” the man didn’t try to stop her daughter’s attack.

Gingerella said the leader of the girls invited her daughter to spend Friday night at her house and that all was normal between the girls. She said there had been no major incidents between them besides what she said were the usual ups and downs of a young school friendship. Gingerella described her daughter as someone who “is very quiet. She likes to stay to herself. She tries to get people to like her.”

On Saturday afternoon, Gingerella said, the situation changed. “My daughter said everything turned bad in about 10 minutes. She was attacked and they wouldn’t stop. She got up and ran. Then they attacked her on the pavement. Nobody interfered. Not even the man who videoed it.”

Gingerella said the other girls posed as her daughter via text message, quickly canceling a request from her daughter to be picked up with a message saying, “Can I please stay the night?”

After the incident, Gingerella’s daughter started to walk home before being picked up by one of her friends, who she begged not to tell her mother about the incident because she was afraid of retribution, Gingerella said. When the girl got home, Gingerella said her daughter told her she was hit by a softball, but then began crying and explained what happened.

Gingerella said there were no parents in the house at the time of the incident. The mother of the girl accused of leading the attack spoke to CNN affiliate WJAR and said, “I love my daughter, too. But my daughter needs help. My daughter has done this too many times. She needs to be punished for this.” Ryan said two of the girls had been turned in by their parents to police and charged as minors, while the other two are expected to be turned in soon. Parents of the other girls were not available for comment.