Mother pickets City Hall after rape of girl, 10


The mother of a 10-year-old rape victim angrily picketed outside City Hall yesterday to call attention to problems at Lexington Terrace, the sprawling West Baltimore public housing development.

City police said the girl was raped about 1:15 a.m. Sunday after a man approached her as she stood in front of an 11-story apartment building at 770 W. Saratoga St.

Police said the man asked the girl to help him carry a snowball machine and shortly afterward he forced her into a vacant third-floor apartment and sexually assaulted her, police said.

The high-rise is 58 percent vacant and the third floor of the building is completely vacant, said Zack Germroth, a city housing spokesman. Many tenants were relocated this spring while the city housing authority seeks federal approval to renovate the entire building, he added.

Housing officials said the building is monitored by 24-hour security guards and authority police.

City police have not arrested a suspect in connection with the rape.

Tenants have been clamoring for improvements at Lexington Terrace since January.

In March, the housing authority moved tenants out of the Lexington Terrace high-rise at 734 W. Fayette St. after residents complained of unsafe living conditions.

The authority is planning to renovate the building at a cost of about $10 million.

Mr. Germroth said the girl's mother had requested a new unit and the housing authority had been working with her for about a month to find a suitable three-bedroom apartment. Yesterday, she accepted a new apartment in a low-rise building outside of Lexington Terrace, he added.

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