Three girls, two 14-year-olds and a 13-year-old, were arrested Tuesday on charges of juvenile delinquency with an underlying charge of attempted assault for the Dec. 18 attack at a school yard in North Babylon, N.Y., said Suffolk County police Lt. Robert Edwards.
In the video, which was posted on YouTube and MySpace, two Web sites popular with teenagers, screaming can be heard as the victim cowers on the ground while she's attacked. Several others look on without intervening as she attempts to kick back but is overpowered.
"It was a beef over a mutual interest in a boy," Edwards said Wednesday. "They agreed to meet, but I don't think the victim realized it was going to be a fight."
After the incident, a group including the attackers can be seen running away, then laughing and boasting about how easily they overcame the girl. The image turns fuzzy, making it appear as though the person holding the camera is running with the group.
One of the group appears to complain that she had dropped her Chinese food during the fight.
The beaten girl is an eighth-grader at a private school, Edwards said. The three accused girls are all in ninth grade at North Babylon High School. Their identities were being withheld by police.
Authorities had yet to interview the accused girls, who were due to be arraigned in family court on Jan. 30.
Police were investigating who recorded the attack, and it was unclear whether the attackers were involved in posting the video online, Edwards said.
The victim was not hospitalized and did not tell her parents, Edwards said. Instead, school authorities learned of the video and notified police Jan. 2. That delay prevented the filing of harsher charges of assault, because physical evidence of the girl's injuries — which she described as bumps and bruises — had disappeared, Edwards said.
The victim's parents were initially hesitant to press charges, but chose to go ahead when the video gained public attention and was broadcast on several news shows, Edwards said.
The video was still posted on the file-sharing site Photobucket on Wednesday afternoon.
The beating apparently ended because an unidentified driver intervened, Edwards said.
"This car pulls up behind, and a good Samaritan cracks the door. And they scatter," he said.
This is not the only case of girls fighting online, reports CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace. All you have to do is go to a Web site like YouTube, type in "girl fight" and you get more than 11,000 hits.
Psychologist James Garbarino, author of the book "See Jane Hit," has spent more than 30 years studying child violence.
"It's very clear that girls are being told, 'Even good girls hit,'" Garbarino told CBS News. "It's not surprising that some of them are taking that to dangerous extremes."