Richmond Cops Arrest Three More Suspects Overnight in Gang-Rape Case

Roman Gokhman, Contra Costa Times (California), October 28, 2009

Three suspects have been arrested in connection to the rape of a 15-year-old girl outside of her high school homecoming dance Saturday, bringing the total number of people in custody in the case to five.

A 21-year-old man, Salvador Rodriguez, was arrested near the corner of 26th Street and Humphrey Avenue at 7:40 p.m., Richmond police Lt. Mike Gormley said. Shortly after 10 p.m., police arrested a 16-year-old boy in San Pablo.

A 17-year-old boy was not at home when police searched his Pinole home, but once he got word that he was being sought, he turned himself in to police, Gormley said.

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Detectives continued wall-to-wall interviews of students and former students, having already arrested a 15-year-old boy and 19-year-old Manuel Ortega.

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[Editor’s Note: The original story on the Richmond High gang rape can be read here.]


Investigators say as many as 20 people were involved in or stood and watched the gang rape 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 21⁄2-hour assault on the Richmond High School campus in suburban San Francisco.

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As many as 10 people were involved in the assault 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.”

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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 assault 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.

“There is one individual in custody who has made some spontaneous statements that have led me to believe that he is culpable for what happened,” Richmond police Lt. Johan Simon said.

Nineteen-year-old Manuel Ortega, described as a former student at the school, was arrested soon after he fled the scene and will face charges of rape, robbery and kidnapping, police said.

A 15-year-old was later arrested and charged with one count of felony sexual assault. A third teenager was being interviewed, Gagan said.

“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 said.

“As people announced over time that this was going on, more people came to see, and some actually participated,” Gagan said.

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