The man who investigators identified as the instigator of the brutal gang rape of a Richmond High School girl was sentenced to 32 years in prison Friday as a part of a plea deal.
Prosecutors said Manual Ortega, 22, could have faced life in prison if he had gone to trial and been found guilty of the 2009 sexual assault of the 16-year-old outside the Richmond homecoming dance.
Just last month with a jury being selected for his trial, Ortega appeared before Contra Costa County Superior Court judge Barbara Zuniga and pleaded guilty to a number of charges including rape in concert, rape by a foreign object in concert, forced oral copulation in concert while inflicting great bodily injury and robbery.
The victim was not in the courtroom for Friday's sentencing.
The crime attracted national notoriety and triggered outrage from the local community.
According to police, as many as 10 people robbed, beat and raped the victim for two and a half hours in a secluded area of the campus beginning at about 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2009 while as many as a dozen others stood by and watched.
During the attack, cellphone photos were taken of the assault while it was in progress.
John Crane Jr., of Richmond; Jose Montano, of Richmond; Marcelles Peter, of Pinole; and Ari Morales of San Pablo all still face trial on charges stemming from the attack.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.