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More arrests expected in gang rape of 15-year-old Bay Area student

October 27, 2009 |  5:46 pm
Police said today they expected more arrests in connection with what they described as a brutal gang rape of a 15-year-old Bay Area student who struggled with attackers -- some of whom took photos and laughed -- as more than a dozen witnesses passed by and did nothing.

City of Richmond The girl was repeatedly assaulted Saturday night at Richmond High School after she left a homecoming dance early to wait for a ride from her father. At least seven males beat, raped and eventually robbed the girl in a dark alley behind campus during an ordeal that lasted two to 2-1/2 hours, according to Richmond police.

Two people -- a 19-year-old former Richmond High student and a 15-year-old student at the school -- have been arrested in connection with the assault, which began about 9:30 p.m.

The suspects allegedly described how some of the attackers laughed and took photos of the girl with cellphone cameras as she was being raped, said Det. Ken Greco of the Richmond Police Department.

"It was a pretty brutal scene," he said.

He said additional arrests could be made as early as tonight after investigators search for suspects in the city 16 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Police said they had received numerous tips from outraged students and witnesses. 

"We're getting more information about who was there and who played what role," said Lt. Mark Gagan.  "The physical evidence is pretty supportive of the direction we're going."

He declined to elaborate on the evidence, citing the ongoing investigation.

Police were alerted after a female student overhead people talking about a rape. She called 911 and told dispatchers what she had heard, according to Gagan.

Police said the victim was still being assaulted when officers arrived on the scene. The suspects fled as officers found the girl lying in the alley. She was unconscious and naked from the waist up, Gagan said.

The former Richmond High student, Manuel Ortega, 19, was arrested a few blocks away Saturday night and booked on charges of rape, robbery and kidnapping, police said. The 15-year-old was booked on suspicion of felony sexual assault.

Gagan said alcohol had been consumed at the scene but that toxicology tests were pending.

-- Robert J. Lopez