14-year-old assaults fellow classmate

December 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
It's happened again -- rape on a Bay Area school campus. This time, it occurred at middle school in El Cerrito. The gang rape at Richmond High School was the last attack, which made national headlines.

Police say the event happened in the north stairwell of Portola Middle School in El Cerrito where a 14-year-old 8th grader raped a fellow student. The assault lasted for a few minutes and occurred while class was in session.

"The location where the assault actually occurred, you can't see that location unless you're standing at the base of the stairs. So somebody from another floor, unless they heard the incident, wouldn't have known that it occurred," said El Cerrito Cmdr. Michael Regan.

However, investigators say fortunately a student happened to walk by during the assault. She made her presence known, then ran to get help.

"If this assault wasn't interrupted by the student that passed by, there's no telling how long the assault would have continued," said Regan.

The 14-year-old boy was gone by the time staff members reached the stairwell, but officers later arrested him at his home.

Still, many parents of the West Contra Costa Unified School District are upset. They're still reeling from the gang rape at Richmond High School that occurred during a homecoming dance in October.

"How could something like that happen? When kids go to school they should be safe, a safe place for learning," said parent Elaine Merriweather.

School board member Charles Ramsey says there are no excuses, but he says since the gang rape at Richmond High, the district has worked on educating all of its students.

"Students talking about issues around sexuality, appropriate behavior, how boys treat girls, we've addressed all those issues. Obviously, sometimes things happen and we're trying to stay vigilant and trying to stay on top," said Ramsey.

Police say the 14-year-old boy was "emotional" when they arrested him at his home in Richmond. He is now at juvenile hall where he faces charges of sexual assault.


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