Attorney Michael Alder said if school staff had reported the accusations to parents and police as the law requires, it might have prevented other students from being assaulted as well.
"Not only did they violate the law, but it allowed for a situation for it to be done to other girls," said Alder, who represents a 15-year-old girl who is one of the alleged victims. "We're here today to try to ask others who know anything that's happened at this school, involving these people we would ask that you reach out to us."
Carter High School assistant principals David Yang and Natasha Harris were both arrested Wednesday afternoon. They're facing misdemeanor charges for allegedly failing to report child abuse or neglect, and felony charges for child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury.
Sources close to the investigation indicate the reason they're facing child abuse charges is that if they had reported the first alleged sexual assault as required by law, the subsequent alleged sexual assault incidents would never have happened.
The 17-year-old student accused of the assaults was arrested on suspicion of sexual battery on school grounds, and was released to the custody of his parents.
Rialto police say they opened the investigation on Wednesday, Feb. 16 when they obtained information about a student sexually assaulted by another student on campus. Police did not indicate how they obtained that information but did say it did not come from school officials.
Through their investigation, detectives say they determined that two victims made reports to school officials of alleged sexual assaults, one in September 2021, and another in November 2021. A third victim later came forward to report being sexually assaulted in February.
But the mother of one of the alleged victims said it's not only what school officials failed to do, but what they didn't do.
Stephanie Olvera said she was appalled when her daughter told her what one of the assistant principals told her as she was making the report.
"The first principal that took a report on it looked at her in her eyes and told her, it might have been the way you dress, or it might be that you're seeking attention.," said Olvera, who went on to say that her daughter was also threatened by school officials when she and her friends kept making reports at the school office.
"They kept telling her that if she kept bringing the subject up, she was going to be expelled," Olvera said.
The Rialto Unified School District is continuing its own internal investigation, and released the following statement to Eyewitness News:
"The District will continue its internal investigation until all the facts related to this matter are brought to light. We will also continue to work with local authorities as they conduct their own investigation. While the District cannot comment on confidential personnel matters on students or staff, the District will continue its internal investigation."