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Woman who called police in Bay Area gang rape honored today

The Richmond City Council today recognized the actions of an 18-year-old woman who alerted authorities to the brutal gang rape of a high school girl after she left a homecoming dance last month.

In a proclamation, the City Council honored Margarita Vargas "for her act of humanity by reporting the sexual assault."

The 15-year-old victim had been repeatedly raped, beaten and robbed after she left the dance at Richmond High School on Oct. 24.

At least a dozen people witnessed the attack --- which lasted at least two hours -- but failed to call police.Richmond High

In her 911 call, Vargas told dispatchers she came forward because no else wanted to help the girl.

 "Nobody wants to call the cops," she said. "So we decided to call."

The crime sparked outrage and focused national attention on the city of 103,000 northeast of San Francisco.

Six people -- three adults and three minors -- have been charged with rape, sexual assault, robbery and kidnapping in connection with the assault, authorities said.

--Robert J. Lopez

Comments () | Archives (12)

While I have no objection to the recognition, it's shocking that the simple act of calling 911 in an emergency should be noteworthy.

The young woman deserves praise for making the call for help in the face of peer pressure not to, but what a comment on the state of things that an act of common decency now warrants an honor from a city council.

Sad state of affairs when we have to honor someone for doing what should have been done without thinking

let's get this young lady and the victim some financial help. Does anyone know of a fund to help?

This young woman did the right thing. But I've gotta wonder, do so few of Richmond's teens and young adults have a soul?

Bless Her! I still have trouble believing so many that that watched or knew about the horrific assaults did nothing to call for help because they were scared of being a seen as a "snitch". Could no one have anonymously gotten someone at a local gas station, corner store or even just a passerby to call 911? Does Richmond have no payphones? The two and a half hours in which no one called 911 makes me suspect it has more to do with callous disregard for the victim and the sadistic pleasure they took in watching, but they aren't going to admit to that.

Those who cheered the prolonged and brutal violations and the vicious beatings and kicking, at times to her head, need to be charged with aiding and abetting. Their loud approval would have helped the attackers overcome any inhibitions they might have had and would have encouraged the aggravation and prolongation of the brutal assaults. Also, the mob would have been a major factor in preventing someone from interfering and, if the witnesses are to be believed, intimidating them against calling 911 as some have claimed.

Additionally, anyone who recorded or photographed the attack and has not turned it over as evidence to the police should be charged with the manufacture, possession and probably the distribution of child pornography. While the police may believe they have they main perpetrators, there are clearly more involved who should be held to account for their part in the horrific crimes that left the poor girl in critical condition.

Since the police do not seem interested it pursuing these charges it is up to the people of California to press them into it.

It is appalling how people can take part in the bystander effect and do nothing. I saw this woman on the local news being interviewed and she said something along the lines, "I have a child, and what if this was your daughter, mother, wife, aunt, grandmother, regardless calling 911 was the right thing to do."

Sadly enough there are a lot of things in this world go on unnoticed and under reported because people choose to look the other way and save them the trouble of being involved or worry about any form of retaliation from the attackers. I would think everyone has a good idea of what is right and wrong, but what makes us human is our ability to make decisions. This woman without reserve or additional thought quickly chose to call the police.

What are the parents of Richmond high teaching their kids? Any kid that was identified as being there and not doing anything needs to be put into a foster home out of state so far away from the parents who are teaching them that it isn't important to report such a crime!!!!!! WTFudge!!!

And these are our future...disappointed.

They should have not disclosed her name-- people are crazy and might seek revenge on her.

glad someone did the right thing - sad it's so rare that it's considered so exceptional

YAY to the young woman who called. Deafening BOO to the majority who didn't. Something is deeply wrong over there in Richmond. The entire student population needs intervention -- a crash course in morals would be a start.


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