Suspects in assault, rape of lesbian plead not guilty

Posted on 19 Jan 2009 at 10:23am
By Associated Press

Woman remains traumatized, unable to work, spokeswoman says

MARTINEZ, Calif. — Three suspects in the alleged gang rape of a lesbian woman pleaded not guilty Thursday, Jan. 15 and are likely to remain jailed until a judge decides whether there’s enough evidence to put them on trial.

Lawyers for Humberto Hernandez Salvador, 31, Josue Gonzalez, 21, and Darrell Hodges, 16, entered the pleas to charges that include kidnapping, carjacking, gang rape and sodomy in the Dec. 13 attack in Richmond, about 15 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Salvador also was charged with committing a hate crime, and his lawyer said he was also pleaded not guilty to that.

A 15-year-old boy also accused in the attack has been charged as a juvenile in the case, but prosecutors are reviewing whether to charge him as an adult, like they did with Hodges.

Authorities say the woman was taunted for being a lesbian during the 45-minute assault, which started as she was walking to the Richmond apartment she shared with a partner and their 8-year-old daughter. Besides being beaten and sexually assaulted in the street, the woman was forced back into her car and assaulted at an abandoned apartment building where she was left without clothes, according to police.

The case has sparked protests and an outpouring of support for the woman, who turned 29 on Friday, Jan. 16 and has been too traumatized to go back to her apartment or use her car.

"She got beaten pretty bad and has a major medical situation around that, and she can’t work," said Tallon Nunez, a Bay Area resident who has been raising money for the woman and acting as her spokeswoman. "Suddenly they are relying on one income that was not that much to start with,"

Salvador, Gonzalez and Hodges remain jailed on bails ranging from $1.9 million and $2.2 million, and are due back in court in March.

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