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Bay Area girl gang raped at school while witnesses watch but do nothing

October 26, 2009 |  5:41 pm

A 15-year-old girl who went to her homecoming dance was repeatedly gang raped and beaten at Richmond High School for at least two hours while more than a dozen witnesses saw the assault but failed to call police, authorities said today.

The attack occurred Saturday around 9:30 p.m. after the girl had left the dance and was waiting for a ride from her father. She saw a male student she knew, who took her to a dark alley behind one of the school buildings, Richmond police said.

Police said alcohol was consumed but were awaiting toxicology tests.

The male student and about six others began raping and beating the girl. As she struggled, more than a dozen witnesses passed by or watched what was going on. The ordeal lasted 2 to 2 1/2 hours, police said.

"The victim was beaten, sexually assaulted and robbed," said Lt. Mark Gagan. "What's equally disturbing is that other people saw what was going on and did nothing."

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

The girl was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

A former student, Manuel Ortega, 19, was arrested a few blocks away Saturday night and booked on charges of rape, robbery and kidnapping, Gagan said. Ortega was being held Monday on $800,000 bail.

Investigators were questioning two students Monday evening at the police station in Richmond, a city of 104,000 16 miles northeast of San Francisco.

-- Robert J. Lopez