LOS ANGELES, July 10, 2006 -- In a crime that the police chief in Fresno, Calif., calls "disturbing," as many as 10 men, most of whom are community college football players, are accused of raping an 11-year-old girl.
Detectives have two of the men in custody and say they have evidence to prove the involvement of the others. The girl, a runaway from a group home, claims she was raped multiple times by the men on Saturday night at a Fresno apartment complex.
She told police she was at the complex to visit an acquaintance. After the alleged rape she said she fled the apartment and asked a couple on the street to call police.
Investigators have concluded that many of the suspects are football players at Fresno City College and Reedley College.
"Our investigation has also revealed that housing arrangements for four of the occupants that reside in the apartment unit where this sexual assault occurred, arrangements for those individuals to live there were made by the head football coach at Fresno City College earlier this year," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
Neighbors who live around the apartment told reporters the men always seemed polite and have been seen tossing footballs around the complex's common areas.
The suspects who have been taken into custody, 19-year-old Eddie Scott and 20-year-old Mackey Davis, were arrested on suspicion of child molestation with a victim under 14 and oral copulation with a victim under 18. Both were booked into the Fresno County Jail.
The girl was taken to University Medical Center in Fresno, though police say she had no serious injuries.
A criminal defense attorney told The Associated Press that he consulted seven Fresno City players on Sunday. The attorney said the men described the alleged victim as tall and mature looking, although she seemed younger when she spoke.
According to the AP, the attorney explained to them that under California law any sexual conduct with a person under 14 is a felony.
Police say charges against the additional suspects could be coming soon.