4 TEENS CHARGED IN GANG RAPE BIRMINGHAM PUPIL, 18, PLEADS NOT GUILTY.
VAN NUYS - Three juveniles and an adult were charged Wednesday in connection with the alleged gang rape of an unconscious 16-year-old Birmingham High School student at a party last week, authorities said.
The adult, Nathaniel Sanchez, 18, of Van Nuys pleaded not guilty Wednesday in court to one count of attempted rape of an unconscious person, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office.
Sanchez was arrested Tuesday.
Three juveniles were arrested Monday and are expected to be arraigned today in Sylmar Juvenile Court, Gibbons said. Citing the suspects' young ages, authorities identified them only as 14-, 16- and 17-year-old Birmingham High students from Van Nuys and Reseda.
All the juveniles were charged with one count of sodomy of an unconscious person.
The 16- and 17-year-olds were also charged with one count each of rape of an unconscious person, Gibbons said. The 14-year-old was also charged with one count of attempted rape.
Prosecutors are expected to ask that the 16- and 17-year-olds be tried as adults.
The suspects remained in custody Wednesday, officials said.
The District Attorney's Office referred the cases of three other juveniles, also Birmingham High students, back to the Los Angeles Police Department for further investigation, said detectives and Deputy District Attorney Alan Yochelson, head of the Sylmar Juvenile office.
LAPD detectives in the Major Assault Crimes section at the Van Nuys Division continued investigating the case Wednesday, searching for ``outstanding suspects,'' one detective said.
The teen-age girl was treated and released from a Woodland Hills area hospital Friday night, police said. She was admitted there after suffering from ``severe alcohol intoxication,'' said Detective Craig Rhudy, the Major Assault Crimes coordinator for the Van Nuys Division.
The rape occurred during school hours as at least 15 students ``played hooky from school'' at the Van Nuys home of one of the students, whose parents were at work, said Officer Charlotte Broughton, a spokeswoman for the Police Department.
The girl drank a large amount of alcohol, passed out and then was assaulted, Rhudy said.
Police said most students involved are from a ``tagger crew'' that damages property with graffiti.
At Birmingham High, 17-year-old student Jesten Hayman said he attended the party and knows the victim but did not witness an attack. He said at least 50 students attended. He saw students drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.
``I'm trying to find out what happened. That's not right. That's just giving our school a bad name. When we go to some of these parties, everyone gets drunk,'' Hayman said.
School board member Julie Korenstein said the district would conduct an investigation.
``There are serious consequences to drinking heavily and getting out of control,'' she said. ``Any time an individual is violated like that, it's barbaric. It's uncivilized. It's the lowest form of how we relate to one another. It troubles me to think that students would do that to fellow students.''
Officials at the school refused to comment on the case.
Staff Writer Jason Kandel contributed to this story.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Dec 7, 2000|
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