Teen charged with rape in school stairwell

Dec. 15, 2009 at 8:00 PM

MARTINEZ, Calif., Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The top administrators at a San Francisco-area middle school have been suspended while police investigate an alleged rape involving two students.

A 14-year-old boy was charged with the crime Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The alleged victim, a girl, 12, was also a student at Portola Middle School, which is in the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

Investigators say the rape took place Thursday in an empty stairwell at the school while classes were in session. Another student reported the sexual assault after entering the stairwell while it was allegedly in progress.

The teenage suspect, who lives in Richmond, Calif., was arrested a few hours later on charges of sexual assault and false imprisonment.

"We're shocked that this could have happened during school hours," Marin Trujillo, a school district spokesman, said.

Denise VanHook and assistant principal Matthew Burnham were placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of an investigation into why the boy and girl were unsupervised during the school day, Trujillo said. The policy of suspending school administrators was adopted after a recent gang rape outside a high school dance in Richmond.

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