Four Charged in California Homecoming Gang Rape

DA's office to seek life in prison for all four charged in the attack.

ByABC News
October 27, 2009, 10:37 AM

Oct. 28, 2009— -- Four out of five suspects arrested in connection with the publicly witnessed, hours-long gang rape of a 15-year-old girl outside of her California high school's homecoming dance face charges that could send them to prison for life, police said.

Manuel Ortega, a 19-year-old former Richmond High School student, has been charged with robbery, assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury, rape in concert [gang rape] and rape with violence, according to Richmond Police Lt. Mark Gagan.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office is going to ask for a life sentence for Ortega, Gagan said. His bail has been set at $1,230,000

The other three suspects are juveniles, ages 15, 16 and 17, but are to be charged as adults, and the D.A.'s office will seek life sentences for the trio, Gagan said.

The three juveniles are being held without bail on charges of rape in concert and penetration with an foreign object in concert. In addition, the 16-year-old will be charged with robbery.

A fifth suspect, 21-year-old Salvador Rodriguez, arrested Tuesday night, has not yet been charged, although the district attorney's office continues to investigate his role.

Estimates of the number of people present for the more-than-two-hour assault Saturday night have grown. Initially, police believed 20 people either took part in the attack or watched it happen.

Police now believe that as many as 10 suspects took part in the gang rape, while 20 others stood by and watched the crime occur in a dimly lit corner of the sprawling campus, according to KGO.

No one who was present during the assault tried to stop it or called police. Instead, some of those watched the attack are suspected of taking pictures, police told ABC's KGO-TV in San Francisco.

KGO reported that police were called only after someone who was not at the scene heard people talking about the attack, which was still going on.

Police officers found the girl semi-conscious, curled up near a lunch table.