Two ninth-grade girls at Newport Harbor High have been arrested in connection with the beating of a girl from a nearby intermediate school, a video of which was posted online at MySpace.com and YouTube.com.
Earlier reports indicated the 13-year-old assault victim was developmentally disabled. But police said Wednesday that was not the case and the victim was an eighth-grade student at Ensign Intermediate, across the street from the high school.
Police said the victim was “dragged by her hair, spit on, kicked and punched” Jan. 10 at a park near the two campuses. School district officials said the victim “suffered some bruises, abrasions and cuts” but was not hospitalized and was back in school after missing one day. The two 14-year-old girls were arrested Tuesday and taken to Orange County Juvenile Hall, where they are being held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit assault with a deadly weapon. Their names have not been released because they are minors.
Evan Sailor, a spokesman for the Newport Beach Police Department, said investigators are looking for two more suspects, one who taped the beating and another who watched.
“We understand the girls might know each other,” Sailor said. “But we don’t know the motivation for the attack.”
The video of the beating consists of three clips totaling seven minutes, Sailor said.
The report that the victim was developmentally disabled first appeared in a local newspaper and was repeated in a letter to parents posted Wednesday on the school’s website. In it, Newport Harbor Principal Michael Vossen described the victim as a “female special education student.”
“We got the information through the media, and it is in fact not true,” district spokeswoman Laura Boss said Wednesday. Vossen “crafted that letter at midnight Tuesday night and was blindly going on the information that was given.”
In the letter, Vossen added: “I am troubled by this incident, not only because someone was physically assaulted by our students, but also because it brings to center stage the dark side of YouTube and My- Space that demands our attention.”