Los Angeles police arrested 10 boys between the ages of 14 to 17 on Friday in connection with a series of sex crimes that began more than a year ago at a California high school and involve at least two underage girls.
Investigators say that a total of 14 students at Venice High School are wanted for sex crimes against the two females, who also attend the school, CNN reports.
Eight of the 10 boys were arrested on the school’s campus Friday. A ninth was arrested off campus, and a tenth turned himself in to police.
The alleged sex crimes began in 2013 and include sexual assault and lewd acts with a minor, according to the Los Angeles Times. Though the boys are not being named because they are all minors, sources tell the Times that some of them are members of the high school’s football and basketball programs.
Officials emphasized that the investigation, which began Tuesday after a parent first reported the allegations, is still in its infancy.
“We didn’t want to leave the suspects out there to potentially victimize other girls at the school,” said Cmdr. Andrew Smith of the Los Angeles Police Department, according to the Times. “The last thing we wanted was to have another victim.”
“Student safety is our number one concern,” added Los Angeles Unified School District Police Chief Steven Zipperman in a news conference Friday, CNN reports.
“Any type of issues pertaining to sexual misconduct on any of our campuses will not be tolerated,” he continued. “It will be dealt with seriously. Anything that amounts to a violation of the law will amount to an arrest.”
The male students reportedly pressured the girls into having sex with them, sources tell the Times. The allegations include both consensual and coerced acts, police said.
“This is a painful moment for Venice High School and this district,” L.A. Unified Supt. Ramon Cortines said in a statement.
“I want you to know that no sexual misconduct of any kind by students or staff will ever be tolerated in L.A. Unified.”
Police are still seeking the four other students, MyNewsLA.com reports.