Students at a Southern California high school watched as two assistant vice presidents were hauled from the campus in handcuffs for allegedly failing to notify authorities after three students claimed they had been sexually assaulted on school grounds.
In a Wednesday press release, the Rialto Police Department says on February 16, it was notified that a sexual battery had occurred at Carter High School.
“The initial report to police was that a 15-year-old female student had been sexually assaulted by a 17-year-old male student several times over the past three months,” the statement reads. “When detectives investigated the allegations they learned there were two additional female students, ages 15 and 16, who were sexually assaulted by the same suspect.”
“Although one of the victims first reported the assaults to school officials in September 2021, no notification was made to the Rialto Police Department until February 16th,” according to officials.
All three of the alleged victims reported their assaults to assistant vice principles David Yang and Natasha Harris, with the student mentioned in the initial report coming forward in November 2021, and a third victim stepping forward this month.
Under California law, Yang and Harris were required to immediately report allegations of child abuse or neglect to law enforcement, yet, no report was made prior to Feb. 16.
In an interview with NBC News Los Angeles, the mother of one of the victims said that her daughter’s allegations were brushed off.
According to the accuser’s father, his daughter was told, “Maybe it was the way you were dressed or you might be seeking attention.”
“For that reason, she kept quiet because she was afraid she was going to get expelled from school,” said the mother, adding that the accused assailant had begun stalking her daughter.
The parents only learned of the assault allegation last week, after her daughter complained to a school official that she was being harassed by the suspect. It was only then that they discovered their daughter’s initial complaint, from November.
“They failed to notify us,” said the father. “They failed to notify police.”
It was, in the end, the mother who notified the police.
“The Assistant Principals’ failure to report sexual assault on their campus erodes the trust that students and parents alike should have regarding the safety and protection of all the children in their care,” said District Attorney Jason Anderson in a statement. “Their failure as mandated reporters to notify law enforcement led to further victimization of the two students, and the sexual assault of a third victim which was preventable.”
According to police, the suspect in all three cases was issued a citation and released back into the custody of his parents, pending the filing of criminal charges.
Yang and Harris were taken into custody without incident and held on $150,000 bail.
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