The state Senate Safety Committee will be considering legislation today introduced by Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, in response to the alleged gang rape of a 16-year-old girl outside Richmond High School’s homecoming dance in October, according to Yee’s office.
On Oct. 24, the Richmond High School student was robbed, beaten and repeatedly raped for two-and-a-half hours by as many as 10 people while as many as a dozen others stood by and watched, Richmond police said.
Seven people have since been arrested and charged with the rape, but because the victim was over 14, prosecutors were not able to charge the people who allegedly stood by and did nothing.
A 1999 state law makes it a misdemeanor for witnesses to fail to report a rape, murder or lewd and lascivious act committed against a child under 14. Failure to do so is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,500.
Yee’s bill, Senate Bill 840, would change the age limit in the current law from 14 to 18.
A similar bill authored by Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, passed 61 to 3 in the state Assembly in January, according to Nava’s office.
Nava’s bill would require witnesses to report certain violent crimes to law enforcement regardless of the victim’s age.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the California Public Defender’s Association both opposed the bill.
Today, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris and several members of the Richmond community are scheduled to testify in support of SB 840, which will be heard at 9:30 a.m. in Sacramento, according to Yee’s office.