Los Angeles PD announced on Friday ten male students from Venice High School have been arrested and 4 others are being investigated on sex assault and unlawful sex charges on and off the high school campus.
Police Commander Andy Smith says all the suspects are between 14 and 17 years old and they are still trying to locate the last four teenagers. Few details were leaked to the press about the allegations and, since all the boys involved are underage, no names were given.
Most of the boys are members of the high school’s basketball and football teams and are accused of being involved in sex crimes committed against two other girls from the same school more than one year ago.
Some of the students, in spite of school leadership’s recommendations not to talk to the press, gave details about the case. Elizabeth Alvarez claims some pictures showing at least one of the accusers performing sex acts on one of the alleged victims began circulating through Instagram earlier, and people started talking about it since.
On Tuesday, the LAPD was told by school administrators that one of the victims has been identified, so the police launched an investigation of their own and found the two girls. Venice High School superintendent Ramon Cortines says the involved students’ parents have been notified, also stating that “no sexual misconduct of any kind by students or staff will ever be tolerated in L.A. Unified.”
Some of the parents were informed about the incident through a recorded message from the principal, saying that “nine kids were arrested by LAPD for sexual misconduct,” as Wilfredo Melgar, one of the parents, told reporters.
As described in the police report, the investigators believe some of the sex acts were consensual while some were forced. LAPD also believes the victims knew some of the teenagers, but they cannot one hundred percent “say that the victims knew all of these assaulters,” Andy Smith told reporters.
One of the Venice High students claims he knew one of the victims and that she was feeling embarrassed about the whole thing after the pictures got out. Amari Pope defended the boys, saying the victim “made up an accusation against people that were football players who have futures that are messed up by her being embarrassed.”
According to some of the parents, one of the main reasons they chose to send their children to Venice High was school safety. Now, while they still believe the school does offer superior academic and sports programs, they begin to question the level of adult supervision that normally had to prevent acts such as these from happening in the first place.
One of the 10th grade girls at the high school says she feels very embarrassed by the whole incident. “The whole world knows about this school and for this. It’s really awful.”
Image Source: International Business Times
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