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Gang-rape Victim Was Honors Student; 6th Arrest Made; A Friend Speaks Out; How You Can Help

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She is a 15-year-old honors English student, attends church three times a week, and has a long-distance boyfriend. She chose a sparkly purple gown and silver shoes to wear to her homecoming dance, which she had looked forward to for weeks. She and close friend Kami Baker, 16, walked into the dance together, no doubt expecting a fun night filled with music and friends.

Before the night would end, the 15-year-old would be in the hospital, victim of a horrific 2½-hour gang rape by as many as 10 young men. While the rape went on, a group of bystanders apparently watched, cheered and took cell phone photos and video. The victim was left half-naked and unconscious, found by police only because another teenage girl heard two young men bragging about the crime.

Instant attention was focused on the school, the security, the community. The most blistering criticism has been leveled toward those who stood by and watched as the crime took place. We simply can't understand how fellow humans could stand by and watch this young girl be brutalized.

There have been some developments. Thursday evening, police made a sixth arrest in the crime, an 18-year-old man. He was being held on $1.3 million bail. Four other teens were arraigned in open court Thursday, all wearing bulletproof vests – they are 15, 16, 17 and 19. A 21-year-old has also been arrested, and investigation is ongoing.

The victim has been able to leave the hospital and go home. Students – including Baker –

Add a Comment10 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I will send her a card and a donation as well. I want to give her encouragement, and edification. I was sexually assaulted on my way to church one morning about a year ago in broad daylight... in a really good neighborhood. These monsters aren't just "poorer" areas. They are everywhere frankly. I was late and parked far and was alone. It can happen when you least expect it. I just pray for her with all of my heart. it's a good time to encourage your daughters and friends to sign up for a womens self defesne class. lots of time they're free!

November 1, 2009 - 3:22pm
EmpowHER Guest

There is not point of fighting about something already happened. all what is creating is more hostility and more violence. Everyone seem to be great at judging whenever something bad happens well, It is not the job of any of us here to judge. so just do something to avoid situations like this to happen; talk to your young love ones about how to avoid dangerous situations and how to stay safe.what happened to this 15 year old is something no body wishes for anyone to go through. so hopefully, It helps parents to open their eyes so they can talk more to their kids about safety. This is not an issue about race and who is Mexican or Hispanic. Ignorant people and bad people can be of any race so that is not the issue. stop being irrespectful with eachother and help make this world better.

November 1, 2009 - 1:07pm
EmpowHER Guest

Mother of 2, thank you for sharing your story. This is really a tragedy that clearly has nothing to do with race. There is nothing anyone can do to erase the past and the people involved will have to deal with the consequences of their actions of that dreadful night. The victim will also have to deal with her own struggles and they will far out stretch what the assailants will have to deal with.

People all across the United States will talk about this and have nightmares from their own experiences. Your daughter probably relived her attack when she heard about this. Any man that does this is an animal in my mind. I have a background in criminal justice with several years of investigation and this story has made me so ill. Mainly due to the on-lookers who did nothing to stop this.

I think everyone of us has the ability to call 911, ESPECIALLY in the technological age that we live in now. How many children watching do you think had a cell phone in their hand while this attack was occurring? I am sure everyone of them did and could have easily contacted the police. This attack lasted two hours. Two hours? Are you kidding me?

My heart goes out to your daughter and all the women out there that share the same story. The cruelty is insane and I for one will be watching this story from start to finish and watch all these people suffer from their choices.

November 1, 2009 - 11:17am

Race has nothing to do with this!!! Has everyone forgotten of what just happen???? I don't care if you are white, black, Hispanic etc... All of a sudden people are going to forget what actually just happen and point it to race??? Are you for real????? I am a mother of 2 girls with one being raped ON SCHOOL PROPERTY at the age of 15. No it wasn't a gang rape but this poor girl and her family will have a long road ahead of themselves with all the counseling, therapy, psychologist, psychiatrist, lawyers, District Attorney, court appointments, having to repeat her story over and over again. Believe me she will not have a normal teenage life for a very long time. My daughter is now 17 (almost 18)a senior was home schooled after the incident and then we moved her to another school from all her friends and where she grew up so she could try and have a successful senior year without no one knowing of what happen to her so she wasn't talked about or given pitty. Kids are cruel in this society these days. My daughter came home last week from school and said. "Mom did you hear about the girl in California that was ganged raped and everyone stood by and watched and did nothing about it?" At the time I didn't hear about it. My daughter said. They were talking about it in school today and I just wanted to break out in tears and yell at everyone for what they were saying I am so sick over this it makes me so angry!People have no idea what has happened to someone mentally until it happens to them!! (we live 3000 miles from California and our kids here are talking about it like its nothing) In our case he was found guilty but it took us over 2 1/2 years to get that Guilty verdict and guess what the school put in cameras after it happens! The only one who really suffers over this is the child its being done too! She will face a lot in her up coming years and will face a lot more in her life when she becomes an adult and feels she cannot have a successful relationship. The one night of horror that other people created for her just turned into a lifetime of challenges for herself. My heart goes out to her and her family and I wish them lots of strength because they are going to need it.

To her mother hold your daughter close but take this advice if she tends to back off on you or her father for those hugs its not you! Its the fear she has inside and it will overcome one day.

November 1, 2009 - 11:03am
EmpowHER Guest

I hope all those guys get shot.

October 30, 2009 - 10:59pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Unfortunately, the firing squad is no longer an acceptable punishment in the U.S. In cases like this, we all wish we could bring it back. (Only the number of people being exonerated by DNA evidence these days makes me less than certain about the wisdom of my last comment.) zd

October 31, 2009 - 1:07pm
EmpowHER Guest

As a teenage guy with three sisters, two of which are younger (13 and 16, older one is 23)…It really does scare me. Plus, it really does kick me in the pride department. I know teenage boys are too caught up in talking big and a little too on the horn dog and porn loving side…but this is just, I don’t even know how to describe it. I can’t believe teenagers are becoming criminals whether it be stealing or violent like murdering (that 15 year old girl who murdered the 9 year old recently) and raping another. I don’t think parents understand what their sons and daughters do these days. I can’t exactly say that it’s parents’ faults of their sons (or daughters) committing violent crimes…even if they are strict or loving parents…but I think the parents of the bystanders—who laughed and video taped this—and the young rapists didn’t teach them to respect women or even teach them that when they witness a crime, they MUST call 911 or they could also be arrested for participation (and child pornography). I’m just disgusted, utterly disgusted and ashamed of my gender. I’ve heard ignorant people on other websites blaming the poor girl just because she said yes to drinking. First off, no one knows if she did drink or is she did, was drunk. Second, it is NEVER the victims’ fault, even if they happen to be caught up in the moment with their boyfriend or husband and end up saying no. I had a very long lecture by my father when I entered 9th grade about the importance of knowing NOT to drink and if I did, never ever take advantage of a girl when she is drunk. It’s a big no no, even if she says yes. It’s still rape because when you’re drunk, you’re not in the correct state of mind. I can’t help but worry about my youngest sister now that she will be in 9th next year…there will be pressure to have sex and party. I’m already overprotective as it is, I interrogate already. But I just can’t believe a young man would participate in this. They just signed their soul to the devil when they decided to trick a girl… I also cannot believe security (4 cops) did not kick the 10-15 guys off school grounds or put the dance on lockdown once they found the girl. Also, does anyone know where the hell the father was?! She walked out and waited for her dad, but where was he during the 2 ½ hours? I hope to God these people serve life in jail and the bystanders get years and years in jail.

October 30, 2009 - 4:17pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you, Anonymous. At least you had a father to teach you what is acceptable behavior and what is not. As a black woman feminist, it's easy to fall into extreme pessimism about the degradation of women in this society (movies, music, music videos, television) and the desensitization of young people to all this ugliness that now represents our "culture." And it's easy to feel hateful: I understand this was a young white woman. Now a rape happens every 2 minutes in this country and 44% of the victims are under eighteen (quoting Rachel Simmons of Huffington Post - let's hope she did her homework; I have not.) While I'm glad for any attention to this issue, is the victim's race why we are focusing - with such unified outrage - on this one case, when this crime is so prevalent? My pessimism makes me think so. But it's wonderful to hear from a young man like yourself who actually cares. Makes me think there may be hope for us after all. zane

October 31, 2009 - 11:45am
EmpowHER Guest

This is totally uncalled for...these boys/men need to have their balls cut off. Perhaps if castration was a form of punishment for these acts of crime less of this would happen to these young innocent girls & women. Violence such as this is so heart wrenching, and I feel very sad for this young girl and her family. I wish her the best.

October 30, 2009 - 3:28pm
HERWriter Guide

Thanks for this information, Diane. I don't know what I will say on a card but we will send a small donation. I think I'll focus more on her recovery that what happened to her. She will relive it in her own mind over and over (and also perhaps in court though I suspect these rapists will plead out) so no need to harp on the crimes themselves.
I am sickened by what has happened to her. I have two daughters of my own and my skin crawls at the thought of something like this happening to them. I also have a small son, and am equally sickened to think these rapists were once small sons too.

What happened to those 'small sons' who ended up vicious rapists just a few years later. Will we ever know?

October 30, 2009 - 11:57am
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