Four men have been arrested on charges of raping a 9-year-old girl in a Utah home on Easter Sunday as her mother smoked methamphetamine in the garage, authorities said on Monday.
The mother was visiting friends in the town of Vernal, about 175 miles east of Salt Lake City, the Uintah County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Sunday. The mother was not officially identified.
Investigators said that as the child slept on a couch, the mother went into the garage and began smoking meth. The girl was taken to another room and raped by four men, according to the statement.
Sheriff deputies took a report of the rape on March 29 and arrested Larson RonDeau, 36, that day, the office said. The three others were arrested between March 31 and April 1.
RonDeau has been charged with first degree rape and sodomy of a child and is slated to appear in court on Tuesday, Uintah County Attorney G. Mark Thomas told Reuters by phone on Monday.
The three others – Josiah RonDeau, 20, Jerry Flatlip, 29, and Randall Flatlip, 26 – have been arrested and Thomas expects to file formal charges in the coming days.
The men could not be immediately reached on Monday for comment and it was not clear if they had obtained legal representation.
The child was not hospitalized after the attack and has been taken into protective government custody, Thomas said. The mother has not been arrested.
“As with any crime against a child, we take them very seriously,” Thomas said.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Sara Catania and David Gregorio)
Watch a report on the investigation, as aired on KSTU-TV, below.