Police chief addresses investigation into alleged rape
on November 4, 2009
Police Chief Chris Magnus told the Richmond City Council Tuesday that the investigation into the alleged rape of a 15-year-old Richmond High School girl involves sifting through a complex web of technology that may lead to more arrests.
“The investigation ends when we’re confident that we have every individual that we can appropriately charge,” Magnus told the council and more than 60 people attending the meeting.
Magnus said his detectives had worked nearly nonstop since the Oct. 24 attack, which occurred on the campus of Richmond High School during its homecoming night events. The alleged crime, which involved multiple suspects and scores of potential witnesses in a darkened area outside the school, has garnered nationwide attention.
Six male suspects – three adults and three juveniles – are in custody. Five have been charged, while charges against a sixth suspect are pending, Magnus said.
The investigation involves dozens of witnesses and a complex web of technology, including cell phone records, photos and videos, Magnus said.
Magnus made clear that his department may make more arrests.
“There is a possibility that one, maybe even two more individuals could be charged later in this week,” Magnus said.
Council members expressed horror at the alleged rape, and stressed that more questions need to be answered concerning how the alleged crime could continue for as long as two hours unabated despite police and security personnel being assigned to the campus.
“I think what is important is that there are clear distinctions in terms of rules and responsibilities” shared between city police and school security personnel, Vice Mayor Ludmyrna Lopez said.
After the meeting, Magnus acknowledged that four city police officers were on duty at the school during the incident, but said the large campus and its secluded areas allowed for the crime to go undetected until a call reported the incident later in the evening.
The victim was found in a secluded outdoor area and rushed to an area hospital. She has since been released.
Magnus said school security personnel had left campus before the alleged crime.
“There was a communication breakdown,” between officers and school security, Magnus said. “There wasn’t a clear understanding of who is responsible for what.”
Magnus said the school district and city police need to better coordinate security efforts in the future.
“The question is, is this a closed campus or not?” Magnus said. “(The school) purports that it is, but kids pretty much come and go as they please. Information sharing was not perfect. In practice, we have to work out a game plan for events.”
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