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Venice High students facing sexual assault charges

A 12th teenage boy who was allegedly part of a group of 14 accused of sexually assaulting two girls who attend Venice High School surrendered to police Tuesday.

Two other boys are still at large, Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andy Smith said.

Nine of the suspects were arrested last Friday, a 10th turned himself in later that day and an 11th surrendered Monday.

The 14 suspects — all students at the campus — are all allegedly tied to a series of sexual assaults that occurred both on and off campus beginning in December 2013, though most of the crimes occurred recently, Smith said.

The counselors were made available at the campus to address concerns of students, staff and parents regarding the case, said Ellen Morgan of the Los Angeles Unified School District Monday. Attendance was normal at the school, she added.

The school district communicated with parents and students via a letter March 13, in which LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines assured them that the LAUSD “is cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation by LAPD and school police.”

The suspects range in age from 14 to 17. Of the initial arrests, eight occurred on campus and one was off campus, Smith said.

Police did not release the ages of the victims, other than to say they were both in their mid-teens.

Smith said some of the sexual activity was consensual, and although the alleged offenses date back to 2013, most of the incidents were in the past two months.

A source in the Los Angeles Unified School District said a group of male students conspired to pressure girls into having sex, threatening to ruin their reputations.

The investigation began March 10, 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,” he 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.

Smith said the suspects, whose names were not released because of their ages, face possible charges that include sexual assault, and committing unlawful sex acts.

Smith said detectives have no reason to believe 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.