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Outrage over gang rape of 15-year-old girl; more arrests made overnight

October 28, 2009 |  7:39 am

Outrage grew in a Bay Area town over the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl as police made more arrests overnight.

National attention has been focused in Richmond over what police described as a gang rape of a 15-year-old student who struggled with attackers -- some of whom took photos and laughed -- as more than a dozen witnesses passed by and did nothing. Police said last night that as many as 20 people saw the attack, and some might have shot video on their cellphones.

"We are outraged that this happened," Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin told reporters Tuesday.

Overnight, Richmond police served search warrants at the homes of several suspects and arrested three people, bringing the total number of suspects in custody to five.

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 -- were arrested Saturday and Monday 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.

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 overheard people talking about a rape. She called 911 and told dispatchers what she had heard, Gagan said.

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

-- Robert J. Lopez

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