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3 Girls Allegedly Raped by Up to 16 Males

Suspects: Three men and seven boys have been arrested after incident at Fresno motel.

April 24, 1998| From Associated Press

FRESNO — Three girls looking for a way home were driven to a motel, where they were held for hours and repeatedly raped by up to 16 men and boys, authorities said.

"I believe this is a horrendous crime, and it is one of those types of crimes that upsets law enforcement officials because the victims are so young and so vulnerable," Fresno County Dist. Atty. Ed Hunt said.

Three men and seven juveniles had been arrested by Wednesday on suspicion of rape, while police continued to search for other suspects in the April 6 attack, Police Sgt. Tim McFadden said.

Hunt said he is seeking to have the minors charged as adults.

The girls, from nearby Clovis, were runaways who were stranded in Visalia and looking for a way home, police reports said. They accepted a ride from one girl's ex-boyfriend, who brought them to a motel near California 99 where his friends were throwing a party, police said.

The girls--a 12-year-old and two 13-year-olds--told police they were dragged one by one into the bathroom and were repeatedly raped, slapped, choked and bitten, according to reports obtained by the Fresno Bee.

They told officers their attackers threatened to kill them if they did not comply, reports said. One girl was whipped with a belt, a report said.

Police learned of the party when one boy sneaked out and called police. The girls did not tell officers then of the rapes, said police, who reportedly learned of the attacks two days later, when one of the girls told her father.

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