Five other male students at Venice High School are being sought in the investigation, which involved a series of sexual assaults both on and off campus between December 2013 and this month, said Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andy Smith.
The suspects in custody range in age from 14 to 17, Smith said. Eight were arrested on campus and one was arrested off campus, he said.
Police did not release the ages of the victims, other than to say they were under 18.
The investigation began on Tuesday, when police received information from school administrators about “a possible victim of a possible sexual assault,” Smith said.
“Our detectives from the LAPD’s Special Assault Section responded, and they conducted an investigation,” Smith said. “During that investigation, they were able to locate two victims — both students at Venice High School — (who) we believe were victims of a series of sexual assaults both on and off campus.
“They continued their investigation over the next day, and they were able to identify 14 subjects that we believe are responsible for these sexual assaults and unlawful sex acts,” Smith said. “This morning, Los Angeles Police Department detectives, in conjunction with L.A. school police, went to Venice High School and made a series of arrests (and) … nine of the 14 are in custody.”
Smith said the suspects face possible charges that include sexual assault, and committing unlawful sex acts. Their names were not released because of their ages.
Crisis counselors were sent to the campus today to assist students, according to Ramon Cortines, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
“The Los Angeles Unified School District is cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation by LAPD and school police,” Cortines said in a statement released early this afternoon.
“Parents of the suspects have been notified. This is a painful moment for Venice High School and this district,” he said. “I want you to know that no sexual misconduct of any kind by students or staff will ever be tolerated in L.A. Unified.”
Smith said detectives have no reason to believe that there are other victims, but are not ruling out the possibility. He urged anyone with information to call sex crimes detectives, (213) 473-0447; or (877) LAPD-247.