Suspects Arrested in California Teen’s Brutal Rape

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Oakland, Calif.—Police have arrested five suspects connected to the brutal rape of a 15-year-old Richmond, Calif. girl on her high school campus.

The suspects, Salvador Rodriguez, 21; Manuel Ortega, 19, and three juveniles aged 15, 16, and 17 have all been taken into custody. Each faces multiple felony charges, including “rape in concert,” and may face life in prison if found guilty.

The assault, which has caught the attention of national media, occurred on the high school campus following the school’s homecoming dance. Police say as many as 10 people were involved in the incident, described as a two-and-a-half-hour gang rape assault. The victim was left unconscious under a bench, and was found hours later after a tip was called in to police. She was airlifted to the hospital and released four days later.

Richmond, a city just north of Oakland, on the San Fransisco Bay, is not a stranger to such violence. The area of Oakland and its surrounding neighborhoods has been the focus of law enforcement officials for years. This incident is facing scrutiny from the media and the community, after it was found that groups of people were nearby watching the rape happen and did nothing to stop it, and neglected to call 911. Although 1999 state law makes it illegal not to report a witnessed crime against a child, the law only applies to children 14 and under.

These findings have put the community under attack, and are forcing officials to question whether or not witnesses can be prosecuted for their failure of actions.

“Yes, something horrible and atrocious happened on our campus, and yes, blame lies with the school officials, with the teachers, with the district, with the police, with the students [who] were afraid to speak up,” Richmond High teacher Lorna McClellan told CNN. “But it’s important to realize that our community realizes this is a problem, and we are taking active steps to fix it.”

Drew Carberry, a director at the National Council on Crime Prevention also told CNN that, “If you are in a crowd and you look and see that everyone is doing nothing, then doing nothing becomes the norm.” Carberry also said that witnesses may be less likely to report a crime because they think another person in the crowd already reported the incident.

Police are offering a $20,000 reward for anyone who comes forward with information that may help arrest and convict those involved in the attack.

 

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