money will make people talk real quick....
Investigators say as many as 20 people were involved in or stood and watched the gang r*pe of a 15-year-old girl outside a California high school homecoming dance Saturday night.
Police posted a $20,000 reward Tuesday for anyone who comes to them with information that helps arrest and convict those involved in what authorities describe as a 2˝-hour a.ssault on the Richmond High School campus in suburban San Francisco.
Two teenage suspects have been jailed, but more arrests, as many as 20 total, are expected, according to a police detective.
"We will be making arrests continually as we develop probable cause," said Richmond Police Lt. Mark Gagan. "With this number of people implicated in the incident we're going to be making arrests on an ongoing basis."
As many as 10 people were involved in the a.ssault in a dimly lighted back alley at the school, while another 10 people watched without calling 911 to report it, police said.
A 1999 California law makes it illegal not to report a witnessed crime against a child, but the law applies only to children 14 and under.
"We do not have the ability to arrest people who witnessed the crime and did nothing," Gagan said. "The law can be very rigid. We don't have the authority to make an arrest."
Charles Ramsey, a member of the Richmond school board, said the school district bears some responsibility for the attack. School administrators and police apparently weren't watching the area as they should have, Ramsey said.
The school said it would hold a safety meeting for parents and students Wednesday evening to address the a.ssault.
The victim was found unconscious under a bench shortly before midnight Saturday, after police received a call from someone in the area who had overheard people at the a.ssault scene "reminiscing about the incident," Richmond Police Lt. Mark Gagan said.
The girl was flown by helicopter to a hospital where she was admitted in critical condition. She was in stable condition Tuesday, police said.
Investigators canvassed the community with fliers, which included the reward offer, hoping to identify more suspects Tuesday.
The gang r*pe and beating of a 15-year-old girl on school grounds after her homecoming dance was horrific enough. But even more shocking, police say, was that up to 20 people watched and did nothing to stop it.
The attack over the weekend rattled this crime-ridden city of 120,000 in the San Francisco Bay area, where one police official called it one of the most heinous crimes he has ever seen. Some students have already left the school district in response to the attack.
"It's not safe there at all," said 16-year-old Jennie Steinberg, whose mother let her transfer out of the district Tuesday. "I'm not going back."
The victim, a sophomore, had left the dance and was drinking in a school courtyard with a group of students when she was attacked, police said.
Two suspects were in custody Monday, but police said as many as five others ranging in age from 15 to mid-20s attacked the girl for more than two hours at a dimly lit area near benches Saturday night. More than a dozen people saw the r*pe without notifying police.
The girl was found nekkid from the waist down near a picnic table. She remains hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
"This was a barbaric act. I still cannot get my head around the fact that numerous people either watched, walked away or participated in her a.ssault," Lt. Mark Gagan said Tuesday. "It's one of the most disturbing crimes in my 15 years as a police officer."
Rumors of online video
Gagan would not comment on rumors that observers took video of the attack on cell phones and may have posted it online.
Manuel Ortega, a 19-year-old former student, was arrested after trying to flee the scene. He is being held on $800,000 bail for investigation of r*pe and robbery. A 15-year-old student also was booked late Monday on one count of s3xual a.ssault, Gagan said.
Even though he said as many as 20 people were witnesses, Gagan said officials are still trying to determine the exact number of people involved. "I'm confident that the list will expand and at the end of our investigation we will get a clear indication of who was there and who did what," Gagan said.
The attack occurred in a city that has dealt with its share of vicious crimes in recent years, and the school recently approved surveillance cameras after a series of violent crimes. In one case a few years back, a student was shot outside the school, ran inside and died in the then-principal's hands, said Marin Trujillo, a spokesman for the West Contra Costa Unified School District.
Richmond is an industrialized conclave near the San Francisco Bay that is known as one nation's most dangerous cities. In 2007, Richmond had 47 homicides, and the murder rate led the state for cities with populations of 100,000 or more, surpassing Los Angeles and Oakland.
That number dropped to 27 in 2008, but has spiked to 44 k!llings so far this year, amid drug dealing and gang activity that has engulfed the town, Gagan said.
‘A tragic incident’
Gagan said the girl left the dance and was walking to meet her father for a ride home when a classmate invited her to join a group drinking in the courtyard. The girl had consumed a large amount of alcohol by the time the a.ssault began, police said. Gagan said the girl's father tried to call her cell phone, but no one answered.
Gagan said police received a tip about a possible a.ssault on campus from a young woman who heard two males bragging about it. Officers found the girl semiconscious near a picnic table.
Trujillo said there were four police officers and 15 school site supervisors monitoring the dance. He said there were no problems during the dance inside the school gym, calling it "a success."
But Trujillo called the r*pe outside on school grounds "a tragic incident."
"We wished this had never happened. This was such a heinous crime," Trujillo said. "We are all going to learn from this."
Student Joseph Machado, 16, said the mood inside the school was tense as officers were questioning fellow students. Two squad cars were parked outside the main entrance, and school security teams were patrolling the grounds in golf carts.
"Some of my friends were saying, 'What if that happened to me?'" said Machado, whose parents didn't allow him to go to the dance. "This school, this city already has a bad reputation and now this makes it worse."
Last edited by memyselfni; 10-27-2009 at 08:57 PM..