Richmond High Student Gang-Raped Outside Dance

Henry K. Lee and Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, October 27, 2009

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A 15-year-old girl leaving early from the homecoming dance at Richmond High School was enticed into a darkened alley just off campus to hang out with as many as a dozen young men who were drinking.

When the girl joined in and became drunk herself, police say, the men attacked her.

One after another, as many as six men raped the girl, police said Monday. Others watched. For more than two hours, no one tried to stop the attacks, and no one called police.

“What’s shocking about it is there were so many people willing to involve themselves in such a serious crime,” police Lt. Mark Gagan said.

Equally shocking, he said, was “the number of people who witnessed it and who were in the area of it occurring who did not take steps to stop it, report it or help our victim.”

The attack happened Saturday about 9:30 p.m., shortly after the girl left the Richmond High gym where the homecoming dance was still going on.

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Around 11 p.m., the dance let out. Marin Trujillo, a spokesman for the West Contra Costa Unified School District, said the four Richmond police officers and three school administrators who supervised the event had helped to clear the campus.

The attack, however, was happening in an out-of-the way alley just north of campus, police said. In the dark, no one saw a thing.

Somehow, rumors about what was happening finally spread to a house party, Gagan said. A person who heard the story called police around midnight, and when officers showed up, they found the girl, semiconscious, curled up near a lunch table.

Running from the scene was Manuel Ortega, 19, who used to attend Richmond High but dropped out in 2007 to attend a vocational training program, authorities said. Officers caught up to him and arrested him on suspicion of rape, kidnapping and robbery–the assailants stole the girl’s jewelry, police said.

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Richmond may have a reputation for being a rough town, but such an attack on a 15-year-old girl is “not normal at all,” Franco said. “We need to let (the girl’s schoolmates) grieve.”

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 Students by Ethnicity 

 This School 

 California School Average 

% American Indian

n/a

3%

% Asian

12%

8%

% Hispanic

72%

39%

% Black

14%

9%

% White

2%

36%

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