A Locked Door, a Fire and 41 Girls Killed as Police Stood By

A Locked Door, a Fire and 41 Girls Killed as Police Stood By

The women, who had damaged no legal guidelines and posed no menace to society, have been victims even earlier than the fireplace. As survivors of sexual abuse, violence or abandonment — typically by the hands of their very own households — the federal government had assigned them to the establishment for their very own security. In principle, the world exterior posed the best menace to them.

“These are ladies who had been abused, generally raped, by members of their very own household,” mentioned Norma Cruz, the director of Survivors, a bunch representing the households of almost two dozen victims. “These ladies have been positioned there for his or her safety.”

The Virgin de Asuncion Hogar Seguro was created for kids with nowhere else to go. Opened in 2010, it housed girls and boys from infancy to 17 in a gated facility on the sides of the capital, Guatemala Metropolis.

Escape had lengthy been a theme of the house. Between September and November of 2016 alone, greater than 90 youngsters ran away, based on prosecutors who’ve charged greater than a dozen officers in reference to the fireplace.

Native journalists had recounted harrowing reports of abuse inside the house way back to 2013 — rotten meals, filthy bedsheets that precipitated pores and skin ailments, violent orderlies.

Then, in February 2017, one other batch of youngsters started planning their very own escape.

It started on Valentine’s Day, when the youngsters have been allowed to mingle. Scores of girls and boys agreed on a day to flee, however phrase of the plot started to leak. Round lunchtime on March 7, two ladies faked a combat within the cafeteria, drawing the orderlies into the fracas.

The others ran.

Practically 100 in all, they scaled the partitions of the outer constructing and jumped right into a ravine, a couple of injuring themselves within the fall. They scattered throughout a creek, taking off in several instructions.

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