Fairfax County police have interviewed all but one of the persons present in the Fort Hunt High School bathroom where a 15-year-old student was raped Oct. 3 and "there is no evidence of a cheering, jeering crowd," despite initial police reports, the county prosecutor said yesterday.
"I have searched high and low for one cheering, jeering spectator and I can't find one," Fairfax prosecutor Robert F. Horan Jr. said. "I don't want to downplay the crime that occurred here. A crime did occur -- a terrible crime. But we are still trying to sort out the dimensions of that crime."
Investigators now believe there were eight people in the bathroom during the assault: the victim and seven teen-age males, all but one of whom has been interviewed. Horan said police know the identity of the eighth person, and are seeking to question him.
Police spokesman Warren Carmichael said yesterday police now believe the victim, a sophomore at Fairfax County's Fort Hunt High, was raped twice in a stall in the women's bathroom during a junior varsity football game with Alexandria's T.C. Williams High. Police originally said the crime took place in the men's bathroom.
Horan said it is not clear yet who raped her, or whether there was more than one assailant.
"As reprehensible as it may sound, people who were merely present, not encouraging or inciting, they committed no crime," Horan said.
If bystanders had encouraged the assault verbally, Horan said, they could have been charged with exactly the same crimes as those who actually assaulted the girl.
One adult, Jeffrey C. Lewis, 19, of 531 N. Albert St. in Alexandria, was arrested Thursday and charged with abduction with intent to defile in connection with the incident.
Lewis, a former T.C. Williams student, was arraigned yesterday morning in Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, where Judge Michael J. Valentine appointed Janell Buell as Lewis' attorney and did not alter his $50,000 bond. However, he did say he "had some questions about a $50,000 bond since you have no prior record."
Lewis, wearing a white T-shirt and gray jeans, stood quietly through the five-minute hearing. He is scheduled to be back in court Monday morning with his attorney seeking to have his bond reduced.
Lewis and Buell declined to comment on the charges.
Horan said Lewis "has given police a version" of what happened that night, but declined to elaborate.
Aside from Lewis, the juvenile males present all appear to be from Alexandria, Horan said, and some are students at T.C. Williams High and perhaps two other schools.
All of those present in the bathroom, Horan said, including the victim, have told police there was no jeering or verbal encouragement during the assault, and other people who were outside the bathroom at the time heard no cheering.
Police said yesterday that they released information that there had been jeering based on initial investigative reports, which turned out to be unsubstantiated.
As police now understand the attack, Horan said, "at some point, against her will, Lewis allegedly takes her into the restroom. It was not a kicking, screaming scene, he just took her in there. We have yet to sort out just what occurred inside."
He said Lewis had made overtures to the girl earlier in the evening, which the girl rejected.