4 charged in alleged gang rape of California girl


RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) - Four teens were charged Wednesday in the alleged gang rape and beating of a 15-year-old girl outside her high school homecoming dance in Northern California - an attack that has generated widespread outrage.

All four - ages 15, 16, 17 and 19 - were charged with rape and enhancements that they acted in concert, which could make them eligible for life in prison.

The minors each face one count of felony rape with a foreign object. The 16-year-old also faces robbery charges. They were charged as adults because of the severity of the crime, Richmond Police Lt. Mark Gagan said.

Besides rape, the 19-year-old, Manuel Ortega of Richmond, was charged with robbery and assault causing great bodily injury.

All four remain in custody and could appear in court as early as Thursday. It was unknown if Ortega had an attorney; a message left for him at the jail was not returned.

"These are people who played a significant role in the incident," Gagan said Wednesday. "I'm confident that more arrests will be made."

A fifth suspect arrested Tuesday, 21-year-old Salvador Rodriguez of Richmond, remains in custody but has not been charged.

The Saturday night attack at Richmond High School and its aftermath have rattled the crime-ridden city of about 120,000 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Police believe as many as 10 people ranging in age from 15 to mid-20s attacked the girl for more than two hours in a dimly lit area. As many as two dozen people saw the rape without notifying police.

The victim, a sophomore, had left the dance and was drinking alcohol in a school courtyard with a group when she was attacked, police said.

Officers found the girl semiconscious and naked from the waist down near a picnic table. She was released from the hospital Wednesday.

Police also hope a $20,000 reward will bring more people forward with information.

Gagan said the girl left the dance and was walking to meet her father for a ride home when a classmate invited her to join a group drinking in the courtyard. The girl had consumed a large amount of alcohol by the time the assault began, police said. Gagan said the girl's father tried to call her cell phone, but no one answered.

Police received a tip about a possible assault on campus from a young woman, a former student, who heard two males bragging about it.

The victim was found nearly an hour after the dance had ended.


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