WOODBRIDGE, Va. (WUSA9) -- Officials tell WUSA9 that there were numerous witnesses to the sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl.
The girl knows the two people charged; they are two boys, 12 and 13-years-old.
Police say the incident happened in the the girl's own backyard in the 15100 block of Blackburn Road in Woodbridge on Wednesday, November 27th, the day before Thanksgiving.
"She reported to us that she was sexually assaulted by two people who were known to her, two juveniles," said Officer Jonathon Perok, spokesman for the Prince William County Police Department.
The boys are only 12 and 13-years-old. No names or court records have been released because they are juveniles. The boys have been charged with forcible sodomy, which apparently was oral sex, according to Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert. The boys are also charged with abduction with intent to defile.
"During our investigation, we learned that they held her down, so that escalates it," said Perok.
"Though it's horrifying, something likely happened that normalized this behavior for both of the young men," said Clinical Psychologist Kacie Fisher. She helps rehabilitate children who commit violent acts, which she says can be the result of exposure to such crimes. She says usually, an outside influence has skewed their moral compass.
"Research does show that for most people who commit sexually violent acts, there has to be come level of exposure that normalized the behavior to them. It could be that they are victims of abuse themselves... or have been forced to watch some act of some violence," said Fisher.
Dr.Fisher says when there is more than one perpetrator, a mob mentality can take affect that can quash the courage to speak out against what's happening. In the Woodbridge incident, there were not only two perpetrators but also other kids watching. It was after school, and there were no parents around, but a half a dozen witnesses says Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert says there were half a dozen witnesses.
The two boys are being held at a juvenile detention facility without bond. They could stay there through Christmas and their preliminary hearing is scheduled in late January.
Ebert says the boys are too young to be tried as adults. He says if the boys are found guilty, the court will order a thorough family and background check to determine the measure of punishment. The maximum they could face would be to stay in a juvenile facility until they are 21 years old.
Dr. Fisher says children who commit such crimes can be rehabilitated. She says they must learn empathy and compassion, and realize right from wrong is not just about what's against the law or the rules, but how those actions affect other people.
Fisher advises parents who are concerned about their children either becoming the victim or perpetrator of sexual violence to go to The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) website.