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Richmond High School Gang-Rape: Police Make Sixth Arrest

(Richmond Police Department)
Booking Photo: Jose Carlos Montano, 18.

RICHMOND, Calif. (CBS/AP) And then there were six.

The number of people arrested in the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl outside her Northern California high school's homecoming dance has increased to six and could get higher, authorities said.

Police are still looking for additional suspects, and have said as many as 10 people ranging from 15 to the mid-20s may have attacked the young girl for more than two hours Saturday.

Jose Carlos Montano, 18, was the latest arrest and was detained Thursday evening outside his California home. He was being held on $1.3 million bail, on suspicion of rape, rape in concert with force and other charges, Richmond police said.

Montano's arrest came after three other teen suspects appeared in court for the first time Thursday. They were wearing bulletproof vests and flanked by deputies at the hearing.

Cody Ray Smith, 15, pleaded not guilty, while Ari Abdallah Morales, 16, and Marcelles James Peter, 17, did not enter pleas during their arraignment in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

(AP Photo )
Photo: Two students outside Richmond High School Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009.

Smith, Morales and Peter each were charged with rape in concert and sexual penetration with a foreign object. They were being held without bail and could be eligible for life in prison, if convicted.

The three were charged as adults because of the severity of the crime, prosecutor Dara Cashman said.

They could face life in prison.

Another suspect, 19-year-old Manuel Ortega, was arraigned separately but did not enter a plea. He is charged with rape, robbery and assault causing great bodily injury, and is being held on $1.2 million bail.

Salvador Rodriguez, 21, also remained jailed but has not been charged in the rape.

Peter's aunt, Monica Peter, said before Thursday's hearing that her nephew told her he was only a bystander and didn't participate in the attack. She said he didn't do anything to stop the attack because he feared "he would get his ass kicked."

(AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Photo: Picnic area at Richmond High School in Richmond, Calif. where police the gang rape took place.

Morales' attorney, Ernie Castillo, said he was still learning details about the case and didn't know "what limited role, if any," his client played in the attack.

Cashman said her office has received numerous calls and e-mails about the case, mostly "expressions of outrage from all over the country."

Police said the victim left the homecoming dance and was walking to meet her father for a ride home when a classmate invited her to join a group drinking in the school courtyard before the alleged assault began. The victim had a large amount of alcohol by that time, police said. Her father tried to call her cell phone, but no one answered.

Compounding the vicious attack, Richmond, Calif. police say nearly two dozen people saw the rape without reporting it.

Officers found the girl after receiving a tip about a possible assault on campus, and found the girl semi-conscious near a picnic table.

The victim was released from a hospital Wednesday.

MORE ON CRIMESIDER
October 30, 2009 - Will Richmond High Gang Rape Gawkers Go Free?
October 29, 2009 - Richmond High School Gang-Rape: 4 Teens Charged Could Face Life in Prison
October 28, 2009 - Richmond High School Gang Rape: Three More Arrests in Homecoming Attack
October 27, 2009 - Richmond High School Gang-Rape in California: Others Watched and Did Nothing, Say Cops

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  • Ryan Smith

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