Gang Rape Witnesses Kept Silent So They Wouldn’t Be Called Snitches

Emily Friedman, ABC News, November 11, 2009

One of the witnesses of last month’s gang rape of a 15-year-old girl at her homecoming dance says that while he could have stopped the attack that he watched for 20 minutes he doesn’t feel accountable for what happened.

“I feel like I could have done something, but I don’t feel like I have any responsibility for anything that happened,” the unidentified 16-year-old witness told ABC’s San Francisco affiliate KGO-TV.

Two witnesses told the television station they didn’t call police during the more than two hour long assault on the girl because they didn’t want to be called a snitch.

For the first time since the Oct. 24 gang rape, details are emerging about the vicious attack on the defenseless teen. Witnesses are now saying that the victim was repeatedly kicked in the head as a group of boys took turns raping her during the more than two hour attack, even using a foreign object to penetrate her.

The witness said that he didn’t have a cell phone to call for help and was scared to tell anyone what was happening. Even his parents don’t know he saw the rape occur, he said. “She was pretty quiet. I thought she was like dead for a minute, but then I saw her moving around and I was like, ‘oh,'” the witness told KGO. “I really wanted to help her but I don’t know, I just didn’t.”

Police have arrested and charged six men, ranging in age from 15 to 21, in the Oct. 24 gang rape during Richmond High School’s homecoming dance.

Police say that a total of 10 males are suspected of taking part in the gang rape. Twenty others, according to authorities, stood by and watched–some even snapping photographs on their cell phones–while the teen girl was assaulted.

Salvador Rodriguez, who was initially arrested in connection to the crime but was later released after the district attorney said she did not have sufficient evidence to hold him, said he saw some “crazy things” the night of the attack.

Rape Witnesses Feared Being Called a Snitch

“They were kicking her in her head and they were beating her up, robbing her and ripping her clothes off. It’s something you can’t get out your mind,” Rodriguez told KGO.

Rodriguez says he was skateboarding near the high school when he saw group form at a dimly lit section of campus, an area friends of the victim told ABCNews.com is known for being secluded. But when Rodriguez approached the group, what he found was gruesome.

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“People say, ‘Why didn’t I call the cops,’ but at the same time, I live in Richmond. A neighborhood like this, snitching is something you don’t do, you know. I mean I have to walk down the streets now in fear of my life,” Rodriquez said.

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[Editor’s Note: Other stories about the Richmond High gang rape are listed here.]

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