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Boy accused of raping roommate at center

TAMPA - A 13-year-old boy who was staying in a state-licensed home for emotionally disturbed children was charged Monday with sexually assaulting one of his roommates, according to police reports. The 10-year-old victim told counselors and police the older boy raped him three times between Feb. 7 and 10, then threatened to hurt him if he told anyone about the attacks.

The assaults took place at the Children's Crisis Stabilization Center on Henry Road, a 14-bed home owned by Mental Health Care Inc., a private non-profit company.

Jim McNally, a division director for the company, said the home takes in children from 5 to 17 years old - some voluntarily and some under the state's Baker Act. The Baker Act allows people to be taken involuntarily to a mental health center if they appear likely to hurt themselves or someone else.

McNally said all the children have moderate to severe emotional and mental problems. The home is licensed by the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS) to treat children from Hillsborough, Manatee, Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties.

According to Tampa police reports, the 10-year-old boy told one of his counselors about the attacks. She notified a nurse, who called police.

The boy said the three assaults took place between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., when the children were supposed to be sleeping. The boy said he was raped once in the bathroom and twice on the floor of the bedroom he shared with his attacker and two other boys.

Another boy in the room told police that he saw one of the attacks and heard the 13-year-old boy tell the 10-year-old to be quiet or he would "break his neck in the morning," the police report said.

The older boy has since been taken to the Hillsborough Juvenile Detention Center.