Police have arrested five people in connection with the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old California girl on Wednesday. Meanwhile, public outrage is swelling over the revelation that as many as a dozen people watched – and several others walked by – during the 2 ½ -hour ordeal, but no one bothered to call police.
The horrendous episode occurred in a dank back alley at Richmond High School, which is north of Oakland, Calif., on the San Francisco Bay, according to police. Richmond Police Lt. Mark Gagan said Wednesday that three juveniles and two adults were in custody. As many as 10 people were involved in the assault, police said.
Salvador Rodriguez, 21, faces numerous felony charges, including gang rape; it was unclear what charges are faced by a 16-year-old and 17-year-old, whose identities were not released because they are juveniles. Arrested earlier were 19-year-old Manuel Ortega and an unidentified 15-year-oldwho were arraigned Wednesday. Still others are expected to be arraigned later this week.
Although a decade-old California law makes it illegal to witness a crime against a child without reporting it, the law only applies to cases in which the child is 14 or younger. A $20,000 reward has been posted for anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction of those involved in the attack.
"We do not have the ability to arrest people who witnessed the crime and did nothing," Gagan said. "The law can be very rigid. We don't have the authority to make an arrest."