Los Angeles Police Department detectives arrested nine male Venice High School students on Tuesday for a series of sexual assaults with two underage female victims.
According to the Venice-Mar Vista Patch, LAPD detectives are seeking five other male students at the high school who were allegedly involved in the assaults. LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith said that the sexual activity, which occurred both off campus as well as on the school grounds, has been going on since December 2013.
The ages of the victims were not released, but it was confirmed by the LAPD that they were under 18. Smith said that on Tuesday the LAPD were told by school administrators about “a possible victim of a possible sexual assault.” He added, “Our detectives from the LAPD’s Special Assault Section responded, and they conducted an investigation.”
Detectives from the LAPD’s Special Assault Section conducted the investigation. Smith said that during that investigation,
they were able to locate two victims — both students at Venice High School — (who) we believe were victims of a series of sexual assaults… They continued their investigation over the next day, and they were able to identify 14 subjects that we believe are responsible for these sexual assaults and unlawful sex acts… Los Angeles Police Department detectives, in conjunction with L.A. school police, went to Venice High School and made a series of arrests (and) … nine of the 14 are in custody.
The AP reported that Linda Patterson Salib, who was president of Venice High School’s PTSA until February commented that, “I’ve been part of the school for some time, I haven’t heard anything whispered even… So this comes as quite a surprise. It’s not like, ‘Oh we knew there was a problem.'”
Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District Ramon Cortines said that,
The Los Angeles Unified School District is cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation by LAPD and school police… Parents of the suspects have been notified. This is a painful moment for Venice High School and this district. I want you to know that no sexual misconduct of any kind by students or staff will ever be tolerated in L.A. Unified.