In response to the movement insisting “black lives matter,” three black child victims of rape held a press conference at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Columbus on January 8, 2015. Their faces were covered with masks and it is the policy of The Free Press not to reveal the identity of underage rape victims. They remained silent throughout the press conference.

But, their advocates raised this theme: “Black child victims of rape matter.”

The three underage black girls have accused their uncle of raping them. The press conference was held to call attention to the fact that the rapes have been all but ignored by the Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, and the alleged perpetrator is still a free man. Participant Bernardine Kennedy Kent of Parents Advocates of Students in Schools (PASS) insisted that the child rapes were not being properly investigated or prosecuted because of the victims’ race.


Kent Asad Shabazz of the Coalition of Concerned Black Citizens and Minister Donell Muhammad of the Nation of Islam all agreed that if these were three underage white girls, the alleged rapist would have been indicted and jailed.


Muhammad revealed that he had met with O’Brien as had the three rape victims. He wondered why O’Brien had not convened a grand jury after three separate police reports found the child victims credible. In a December 31, 2014 letter to O’Brien, Muhammad wrote: “Children have stated they have been raped. There are suspected and potential victims. We will not allow our children to grow up to feel unsafe in this world.”

Muhammad named the alleged child rapist in his letter, “We are again requesting Edward Battle III be arrested and charged and a grand jury convened without further delay.” Muhammad pointed out that “…Edward Battle III being named as a suspect in three police reports, based on law enforcement and other authorities stating that the victims were very credible, consistent and compelling….”

Early on, the Center for Child and Family Advocacy compiled evidence of child rape. Franklin County Children’s Services caseworker Laura Burgess recorded a written assessment of the case on August 2, 2013 for the Columbus police. Burgess wrote that a child victim “…was able to give disclosure of sexual abuse that was reasonably consistent with what was reported in the allegation narrative. Further, this disclosure was spontaneous and she was not observed or assessed to be coached in any manner. The disclosure was consistent and clear.”

On January 2, 2015, Shabazz wrote O’Brien stating: “I am confused. Did Sgt. Kaeppner give you anything? Did he send you any felony packets? Also, with what you have, why not just convene a grand jury and let them see and hear and evidence?” There was no answer back from O’Brien.

Kent offered an answer: “These children are black and not wealthy. If they were white and rich Mr. Battle would be in jail. Black lives matter.”

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