6 ordered to stand trial in alleged homecoming gang rape

A judge ordered six defendants Tuesday to stand trial on felony charges in the gang-rape of a teenage girl outside a Northern California high school homecoming dance.

Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Gregory Caskey dismissed charges against a seventh and youngest defendant, a 16-year-old San Pablo boy, saying there was insufficient evidence.

The Contra Costa Times reports the judge reduced charges against Elvis Torrentes, 23, who now faces up to eight years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutor Dara Cashman said the other five defendants face possible life sentences. They are: Manuel Ortega, 20, of Richmond; John Crane, 44, of Richmond; Ari Abdallah Morales, 17, of San Pablo; Marcelles James Peter, 18, of Pinole; and Jose Carlos Montano, 19, of Richmond.

The defendants all have pleaded not guilty.

The judge issued the decisions after hearing evidence over 20 days about each defendant's involvement in the Oct. 24, 2009, attack on the Richmond High School campus during a homecoming dance.

The 16-year-old victim was heavily intoxicated when she was sexually assaulted, robbed and beaten over two hours while spectators watched, authorities said.


Information from: Contra Costa Times