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Girl beaten during rape attempt in Tarzana

March 25, 2009 2:08:57 PM PDT
Police hunt for a suspect after a girl was beaten during an attempted rape in Tarzana.Police said the 15-year-old 10th-grade girl had just returned from a softball game or softball practice and was waiting for her dad on her school campus at Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies when she was attacked at about 5:55 p.m. last Thursday night.

The suspect dragged the 15-year-old victim into bushes and tried to rape her. He beat her, but the victim fought back.

The victim was described as a petite. She's an athlete and she turned out to be a very tough person, fighting off her attacker. She is all right now. Police want to catch the suspect, and they're hoping that surveillance video will help catch that suspect.

Surveillance video shows a man fitting the description of the suspect inside the Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies on the day of the attack.

"The suspect came from behind, approached her, dragged her into the bushes, where he violently beat and kicked the victim," said LAPD Lt. Felicia Hall.

The suspect fled from the scene in 2005 to 2008 silver, four-door, Volkswagen vehicle. He is described as a Hispanic male, between 18 to 20 years of age, between 5' 8" to 5' 11" tall, with a shaved head with hair beginning to grow out.

There were many students lingering on campus at the time because "College Night" at school, which the victim had planned to attend with her father.

"The kids were a little shaken up," said Sherman Oaks CES Vice Principal Mariann Aguilar. "This invaded their comfort zone, this invaded their safety place. We had our crisis team come down, we had our counselor service."

Wednesday, school administrators say they've been reaching out to students to help them deal with what has happened.

A letter was sent home a day after the incident to inform parents of the attack. Parents are on alert.

"That stuff doesn't really happen at this school, but now it is, and I guess, you know, it is going to happen everywhere at some time or another so it's just fortunate that she was able to fight this guy off," said parent Tyler Gentry.

Police have released a description of the suspect: Hispanic male, 18 to 20 years old, 5' 8" to 5' 11" tall, with a shaved head with the growth coming back. If you have any information, please call (800) LAPD-24-7 (527-3247), or you can call LAPD at (213) 485-2921. Police know that there are witnesses out there.

Eyewitness News Reporters Lisa Hernandez and Leslie Sykes contributed to this report.


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