An 18-year-old Cleveland man is in jail on a $1 million bond, charged with raping a 5-year-old girl.
The child’s mother, Devereaux, said she wanted to share their story as the first step in getting her young daughter justice — and as a reminder to all parents.
News 5 is not using her last name to protect the child’s identity.
“An innocent child has had her innocence taken away from her,” Devereaux said.
She said she noticed something was wrong when her daughter came home from playing at her next-door neighbor’s home on Sunday, Sept. 10.
She started asking questions, and became sick to her stomach when she learned the answers.
“I just started crying because this is my 5-year-old baby. We are celebrating the fact that she is in kindergarten,” Devereaux said. Instead of that celebration, she immediately called police and then had to take her daughter to the hospital where the child underwent a rape kit.
Soon after, 18-year-old Antwon Myles was arrested and charged with rape.
Myles, according to Devereaux, is the brother of her next-door neighbor and close friend — a home where her daughter spends much of her time playing with her neighbor’s toddler son.
“Even if you feel like you can trust somebody, even if you feel like you’re watching them, watch them more,” Devereaux said. “And ask questions, because my daughter didn’t come to me willingly and tell me this.”
Myles has been a "client" of Peace in the Hood, a Cleveland community organization, since he was a young boy, according to leader Khalid Samad. Samad said Myles' mother abandoned him when he was a young child, so the organization essentially adopted him, providing wraparound services for the last 10 years, including therapists, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists.
Samad said Myles has volunteered with the group, but they have never had problems with him in the past. Samad also said he was never around children unsupervised.
“It is a sick crime,” Devereaux said. “When you hear about it, it makes you sick.”
Devereaux said she plans to get her daughter into therapy as soon as possible.