5 arrested in rape of girl in Richmond

October 29, 2009 12:02:37 AM PDT
Students and teachers came together at Richmond High School Wednesday afternoon to talk about the horrific attack on a 15-year-old girl this weekend. The girl was raped for more than two hours on school grounds; five people in their teens and 20s are now under arrest.

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Richmond police Wednesday released surveillance video showing detectives bringing two teens into the police department Tuesday night. One was a 16-year-old San Pablo boy who had attended Richmond High. The other was a 17-year-old from Pinole. He turned himself in when he learned police raided his house while he was not home.

"The people that we know who played the most active role, who committed the most heinous crimes, are represented by being arrested," Richmond Police Lt. Mark Gagan said.

Also among those arrested Tuesday, 21-year-old Salvador Rodriguez, another former Richmond High student.

That brings the total to five people accused of gang raping a 15-year-old Richmond High student outside her homecoming dance on Saturday.

Police already have 19-year-old Manuel Ortega in custody, as well as a 15-year-old student whom investigators say knew the victim.

"Some people think Richmond doesn't care, but would we all be out here today if nobody cared," Richmond High sophomore Andre Taylor asked.

The case has drawn national attention because of the horrific details -- a crowd of spectators grew over the two and a half hour attack and there could be as many as 10 rapists.

Students and teachers spoke out against the negative image this crime has forced upon their school.

"My students are not criminals; my students are just as talented and intelligent as students in other communities and they are amazing, amazing individuals," Richmond High School teacher Lorna McClellan said.

But investigators believe some of the suspects still at large attend Richmond High and they are confident there are more arrests to come. Two other teens that were brought in for questioning and released could still be charged.

"I'm here because I want everybody to hear, even Arizona and New York, everywhere they are at, to know we are not criminals," student Norma Bautista said.

The victim, who has been in the hospital since this attack, was released Wednesday, but may not be headed home for her own protection.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the District Attorney announced he will file charges against four of the five people in custody. Ortega will be charged with robbery, battery and a felony sex crime; three of the juveniles will be charged with felony sex crimes. Police hope they will be tried as adults. The DA is still deciding about filing charges against the other adult.

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