Unlikely Manhunt Leads to Tragedy 1
Did System Enable Mom Killer? 2
Wannabe Singer Turned Student Sexter? 3

A Dozen Watch as a Girl is Gang Raped Outside a Richmond High School Homecoming Dance

Friday, October 30, 2009 at 11:15 am

Manuel Ortega.JPG
Manual Ortega is among the arrested in a gang rape that lasted two hours
UPDATE: Another 18-year-old has been arrested in the case. See update after the jump...

The 15-year-old student left the Richmond High School homecoming dance at about 9:30 Saturday evening, apparently waiting for her father to pick her up in this San Francisco suburb. Before dad arrived, she saw a friend from school who invited her to hang out with some boys who were drinking in a secluded part of the campus.

The girl joined the group and began drinking heavily, police say. After she became extremely intoxicated, the boys decided to rape her...

Police believe as many as five boys joined in the gang rape, which lasted more than two hours. As word spread of the attack, other kids arrived to watch. As many as 12-15 others stood around as the girl was being assaulted. No one called police.

Richmond-high-school.jpg
Richmond High sits in a gang-infested suburb with one of California's highest murder rates
Police only arrived around midnight after getting a call from someone who'd overheard other people "reminiscing about the incident," Lt. Mark Gagan told CNN.The girl was found unconscious and "brutally assaulted" under a bench. She was flown to a hospital in critical condition, but has since stabilized.

"She ended up with those guys under her own will because she knew one of the boys who had gone to the high school before," Gagan says. "Right now, we're looking at toxicology reports to determine her blood-alcohol content and to determine if she was drugged."

Former student Manuel Ortega, 19, has been arrested in the case. He's charged with rape, robbery and kidnapping. Another 15-year-old boy has been charged with felony sexual assault. Police are now searching for more kids who may have taken part or witnessed the gang rape.

"Based on witness statements and suspect statements, and also physical evidence, we know that she was raped by at least four suspects committing multiple sex acts," Gagan says. "As people announced over time that this was going on, more people came to see, and some actually participated." There's a good chance those who watched will also be charged.

Richmond High School does have security cameras, but none were working at the time of the attack. "This just gets worse and worse the more you dig into it," Gagan says. "It was like a horror movie after looking at the evidence. I can't believe not one person felt compelled to help her."

UPDATE I: Five people have now been arrested, but as many as 10 may have joined in the gang rape.

Here's an updated version of how the incident went down: The 15-year-old girl was leaving the dance and was about to call her dad for a ride when she ran into a friend, who invited her to party in a secluded spot on campus. Dad tried to call her later, but didn't get an answer.

The girl quickly pounded a large amount of brandy and became semi-conscious. That's when her supposed friends decided to rape her. Police now believe that as many as 10 males -- ages 15 to mid-20s -- took part in the assault. They stripped the girl naked and took turns over more than two hours. As word spread, as many as a dozen others arrived to jeer, laugh, rob and punch her, and take cell phone pictures.

As Raul Rubio told the San Jose Mercury News, "Some dudes walked up and were like, 'There's a drunk girl back there.' They said she was naked, and if you want to get fucked, go back there."

All told, five people have now been arrested in the case -- with more to come. Police are now even employing the SWAT team to serve warrants. The arrested include Manuel Ortega, a 19-year-old high school dropout, 21-year-old Salvadore Rodriguez, and three juveniles ages 15-17.

The girl, it seems, was the kind of kid they made fun of in this rundown city of 120,000 near San Francisco, which tends to have California's highest murder rate, and is rife with gangbangers and dope dealers. Though it's just speculation, she may have been doing her best to be cool and fit in when it all went very bad.

"They used to make fun of her because she had a crush on a boy in class," student Susan Meas told KTVU-TV. "And they used to make fun of her because of the jeans she wore and stuff. She had to barge out of class crying one day."

Authorities are also figuring out whether they can charge those who watched but didn't join the assault. Under California law, it's only a crime to not report a crime if the victim's under 14. But they may be able to charge them with aiding and abetting if they can prove the onlookers facilitated or goaded the creeps who actually raped her.

UPDATE II: At least some of the boys apparently raped the girl with objects, according to new charges.

Three boys ages 15, 16, and 17 have each been charged with felony rape with a foreign object, meaning they used something to penetrate the 15-year-old girl. They've been identified as 15-year-old Cody Ray Smith, 16-year-old Ari Morales and 17-year-old Marcelles Peter. All have been charged as adults due to the viciousness of the crime, and could get life if convicted.

But it seems people in Richmond aren't happy with the national attention they're getting. Yesterday, teachers at Richmond High School protested outside with large signs saying "What about the good things?" and "Richmond cares!" It's as if they believe the media isn't supposed to report on the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl while as many as 20 people watched and took part -- and no one called the cops over a two-hour period. And these are teachers?

"We are not criminals," student Norma Bautista told the San Jose Mercury News. "We are the future leaders. We are going to make a change. Everything they say about us -- that we're animals, that we're not a community -- we are a community. Why are they focusing on the negativity?"

Sorry, little girl, but in times like this, no one's really thinking about how good your band program is.

UPDATE III: Another 18 year old has been arrested in the case.

Jose Carlos Montano, 18, was arrested Thursday evening outside his San Pablo home. He's being held on a $1.3 million bond on suspicion of rape and other charges.



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