Three Key Peninsula males aged 13, 14 and 17 were arrested March 17 for their roles in an alleged violent sexual assault on a 15-year-old girl at her Lakebay residence March 14. A 20-year-old man police believe was present during the alleged assault was arrested on an outstanding Mason County warrant for first-degree child rape, but was not charged in connection with the Lakebay assault at the time this report went to press.

According to Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer, at least three males and possibly more attacked the victim in a shed behind her family residence. The victim’s 14-year-old sister was present but hid herself to escape harm. The victim’s family was in their residence at the time. Her mother found the 15-year-old later partially clad and seriously injured and took her to a hospital, where police were notified.

The assailants used the 14-year-old sister’s cellphone to record and photograph the attack, according to Pierce County detectives. The assailants posted the results online through Snapchat instant messaging service, which automatically deletes messages after receipt. Detectives were able to retrieve the video that led to the arrests.

The incident did not occur at or near Key Peninsula Middle School, but Principal Jeri Goebel issued a statement to students and parents that read in part, “Please know that even though the media has opted to set up near KPMS, we are doing everything possible to limit the disruption to our students’ education… We have always and will continue to make student safety our number one priority.”

The 13-year-old arrested is a student at KPMS.

A second school district employee not affiliated with KPMS said, “The statistics are real. Nine out of 10 times it’s (the assailant) someone you know. Kids have got to learn how pervasive this is, not just here but everywhere, and how to avoid a potentially bad situation, and parents have got to learn how to talk to them about it before it happens.” The employee spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to represent the district.

“The victim and her family are going to need a lot of support from us and from the community, and, it may be hard to hear this, but so are the boys who did this,” said the employee.

One local resident, who also declined to be identified, said the shed where the alleged attack occurred is known as a “party house” for local teens and was “a ticking time bomb.”

“This hurts all of us,” she said. “We need to circle the wagons and help the family. All of the families involved.”

The youths are confined in Remann Hall Juvenile Detention Center in Tacoma. The 20-year-old is in Pierce County jail.

For more information on preventing or recovering from sexual assault, go to: sexualassaultcenter.com.

The Key Peninsula News will not identify the victim in this case or her family, nor will KP News identify the youths arrested unless or until they are convicted of a crime. The man arrested will not be identified unless or until he is charged in connection with it. KP News will not reveal any details of the alleged assault unless or until a criminal trial has been concluded and records are publicly available. Records in such cases are often sealed.

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