Teens in court for alleged CA gang rape

October 29, 2009 1:58:28 PM PDT
Four teenagers face adult charges in the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old girl outside her Northern California high school's homecoming dance.Defendants Manuel Ortega, 19, Cody Ray Smith, 15, Ari Abdallah Morales, 16 of and Marcelles James Peter, 17 were arraigned Thursday in Contra Costa County Superior Court. Smith pleaded not guilty in the case, while the others didn't enter a plea. All four will be back in court next week.

Flanked by deputies and wearing bulletproof vests, Smith, Morales and Peter were each charged with rape in concert and sexual penetration with a foreign object, along with special circumstances that could make them eligible for life in prison.

They were charged as adults because of the severity of the crime, prosecutor Dana Cashman said.

Morales is also charged with robbery. Ortega also is charged with robbery and assault causing great bodily injury. A fifth suspect arrested, Salvador Rodriguez, 21, also remained jailed but has not been charged.

Richmond police said they're still looking for more suspects in the Saturday night attack, which may have involved more than two dozen people watching as the girl was raped for two hours. A fifth suspect remains in custody but has not yet been charged.

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