High school students plead innocent to UCLA dorm rape

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LOS ANGELES -- Three high school students pleaded innocent Friday to charges of raping a University of California, Los Angeles, student inside her campus dorm.

The two 17-year-olds and one 16-year-old were ordered held in juvenile custody pending a Dec. 26 hearing in Inglewood Juvenile Court. Their names were not released because of their ages.

Prosecutors said Friday they would ask that the three be tried as adults.

Authorities said the teenagers were taking a Dec. 5 tour of the campus when they left their tour group and attacked the UCLA student. They were charged with rape in concert, forcible rape and forcible oral copulation.

One of the 17-year-olds was also charged with sexual battery for allegedly attacking another dorm resident that same day. He pleaded innocent to that charge as well.

UCLA spokesman Max Benavidez said the youths were among several dozen Carson High School students touring the campus under the guidance of one of their high school counselors.

"They called the day before and said they wanted to come see the campus, but we don't do official tours on that short of a notice," Benavidez said. "They decided to come anyway, which they can. It's an open campus, and that's what happened."

Police arrested the three Dec. 6 after gathering information from the victim and other witnesses.

The attack has left dorm residents at the school in the tony Westwood section of Los Angeles uneasy about campus security

Residents enter their locked dormitories by using encoded identification cards, but someone likely let the youths in, said Nancy Greenstein, a UCLA police spokeswoman.

Several students said it is common for students to hold doors open for others without questioning whether they belong there.


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