No charges filed yet against Venice students

Chad Sharrieff, Reporter

The Los Angeles County District Attorney office said on April 7 that no charges had been filed against any of the 12 Venice students arrested in early March for alleged sexual assault. According to School Police Sgt. Keith Braden, the investigation is still pending so he cannot provide further information about the youths. The boys no longer attend Venice High School.

On March 10, Los Angeles Police Department began an investigation after the school administration notified them of a case regarding alleged sexual assault of two Venice High female students.

Los Angeles Police Department officials told the Los Angeles Times that the two girls allegedly victimized have been interviewed. Police also told the Los Angeles Times that several of the sex crimes are alleged to have occurred on campus. Sources told the LA Times that the investigators are looking into allegations that the girls were pressured into sex by threats to their reputation.

Some students who know the boys told The Oarsman that the acts were consensual. LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith told the Los Angeles Times that some of the acts were forced and some were consensual with individuals who were too young to give consent. Several boys were present during some of the sex acts, according to an unnamed Oarsman source. Venice students were sharing via cell phones a video and at least one photo of a sexual encounter between some of the students who were involved, according to another Oarsman source.

The suspects were cited and released to their parents. If charges are filed, they will be summoned to appear in court. One was being held in juvenile hall, according to the Los Angeles Times.

LAUSD officials had an evening meeting on March 18 in the auditorium to address parents’ concerns about school safety and other issues.

School Police Lt. Frank Minutella told The Oarsman that the police and the administration at Venice and ESC West are having follow-up meetings and a creating a committee “that will work on coming up with ways to prevent these type of things from happening again in the future.” Right now LASPD has two bicycle patrols and two regular police officers on campus. “The bicycle patrol will be there until the end of the school year,” he added.

The bike patrols are considered an extra eye because the school police can’t be everywhere at the same time and aren’t as mobile as the bike patrols, said Lt. Minutella.