No charges in Venice High sex assault case after 15 arrested
Craig Clough | May 21, 2015
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A high-profile LAPD raid on Venice High School that made international headlines after 15 male students were arrested on charges of sexual assault has resulted in prosecutors’ decision not to prosecute anyone in the case.
The large number of students arrested in mid-March and the high number of law enforcement personnel that descended on the school’s campus and led students away in handcuffs drew widespread attention on the case. But now, over two months later, prosecutors with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office cited “insufficient evidence” as the reason that no charges would be pursued, the Los Angeles Times reported.
LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the LAPD “stands by our decision to make arrests based on the information we had and circumstances at that time,” according to the Times. All of the alleged suspects and victims were minors.
The students arrested, some of whom were athletes at the school, worked together to pressure girls into having sex and made verbal threats to pressure them to have sex, the LAPD said at the time of the arrests.
Eight students were arrested on campus during the March 13 raid and the others were arrested off campus. The investigation began when school officials notified the LAPD about the allegations, and the LAPD said at the time it moved quickly on the school to prevent further incidents.
LA Unified declined to comment on the decision.
“As soon as the Los Angeles Unified School District learned of the alleged incidents, we informed the proper authorities as required by law,” LA Unified said in a released statement. “The District completed its required administrative review and evaluation of school safety and campus climate and facilitated the required Education Code due process of involved students. Since the review is confidential, we can’t comment on specific actions. This process is unaffected by the District Attorney’s decision not to press charges.”