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Mexican Gang Attacks Christian Youth Group on Prayer Retreat

Sexual assault of girls on prayer retreat is latest sign of how Mexico's drug-related violence is disrupting religious gatherings.

A Mexican gang attacked a Christian youth camp in a park near Mexico City on Thursday.

About 90 boys and girls were camping on a prayer retreat when about 12 assailants attacked at midnight, firing shots in the air. They rounded up the campers, sexually assaulted seven girls, beat other youths, and stole valuables such as jewelry, cell phones, and watches. The ordeal lasted several hours, according to Mexican press reports.

While questions of security have been raised, state governor Eruviel Avila has vowed to do everything possible to find those responsible, according to BBC News.

The families of the victims however, accuse the investigation of moving too slowly. For Spanish speakers, an article by Noroeste.com contains reactions from families of the victims. The father of a 13-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted said she has not stopped crying since the incident. The mother of another victim said, "My baby is well, but very quiet. She suffered from sexual assault and beatings...," although she was not raped.

CT has regularly reported on how drug-related violence has disrupted religious life in Mexico, including how a police raid during Sunday Mass in order to arrest a drug lord shows that churches are no longer neutral observers in the war on drugs.

CT has also covered Wild At Heart author John Eldredge's response to a Mexican drug cartel using his teachings to instruct and motivate recruits, as well as the kidnapping of a prominent Michoacan pastor during a church service.

Drug violence has halted American short-term mission trips to Mexico and prompted debate over whether such trips should be resumed.

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