Mon, Sept. 16

Three Verde Valley teens arrested for sexual assault

Monday, Yavapai County Sheriff's Department deputies were called to the reported sexual assault of a girl who attends Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood.

Deputies met the 15-year-old girl at the school and she told officers of a sexual assault that occurred Saturday, Jan. 31, involving three boys from the school, according to the YCSO news release.

The alleged sexual assault took place in an area outside of Cottonwood, YCSO reported.

According to the report, the girl told deputies that earlier on Saturday evening one of the suspects contacted her by phone and asked if she would like to hang out with some friends. She agreed, and was picked up at her home a short time later by three fellow students.

They drove to a remote area where she was told an outdoor social gathering was under way. No such activity was occurring. The vehicle finally stopped and a short time later the victim was sexually assaulted by the suspects. They eventually drove her home around midnight and dropped her off, according to the YCSO new release.

Deputies contacted detectives from the Criminal Investigations Bureau and the following day, Feb. 3, all three teens were arrested. Two of the teens, both 16 years old, were arrested at Mingus Union High School. The third suspect, a 17-year-old, was arrested at his Cottonwood home. All suspects were booked at the Prescott Juvenile Detention Center on charges of kidnapping and sexual assault. One of the suspects was additionally charged with criminal liability, according to the YCSO release.

Mingus Union Superintendent Paul Tighe said, "While this is not a school issue and the arrests are not connected with any school activities, we are concerned for the well-being of all of our students.  Mingus administrators and staff are trying to keep students focused on learning while law enforcement and judicial officials handle the situation."

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