MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Relatives of two young boys accused of raping a 2-year-old girl are seeking a court hearing to regain custody after a judge ordered the boys into the care of the state's child welfare agency, attorneys said Tuesday.
Magistrate Dan Michael ordered the boys, ages 7 and 9, into the custody of the Department of Children's Services during a hearing Monday in juvenile court in Memphis.
James Sanders, the 9-year-old's lawyer, told The Associated Press that the boy's family was not happy with the judge's ruling and they have filed for a rehearing in juvenile court. A date has not been set.
The 9-year-old's grandmother has offered to take custody of the boy, Sanders said. The boy's family feels that any treatment or counseling services the state can offer in the home will be sufficient and putting the children in foster care is unnecessary, Sanders said.
A social worker also wanted to leave the 9-year-old at home despite a report by a mental health expert claiming he'd been abused. Sanders said he could not comment about any allegations of abuse.
"Certainly, one is concerned where they learned this behavior," Sanders said.
The 7-year-old's attorney, Samuel Jones, had urged the judge to leave the boy with his mother and had the backing of a social worker, who recommended the family get services but stay together.
Jones said Tuesday the 7-year-old's family also is requesting a rehearing, and that the boy's mother is upset over losing custody.
The rape occurred in August while a group of neighborhood kids were playing in a south Memphis backyard, officials said. The victim's brother, age 5, allegedly told their mother.
Sanders said the boys are accused of using an object in the rape but they have admitted nothing in court. Further details haven't been released but Tennessee law specifies rape can include attacks with objects.