Police arrested 10 teenagers from a Los Angeles high school on Friday in connection with sexual assaults and unlawful sex acts against two fellow students, and investigators were seeking four more youths as suspects, authorities said.
Police said the case came to their attention when administrators at Venice High School, a campus in a relatively affluent community near the beach in the west of the city, reported a suspected sexual assault to detectives on Tuesday evening.
Investigators discovered that two female students at the school had been sexually assaulted between December 2013 and this month, both on and off campus, said Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Commander Andrew Smith.
Officers set out on Friday to arrest 14 suspects, all boys aged 14 to 17 believed to be responsible for sexually assaulting the two girls or engaging with them in unlawful sex acts, Smith said.
Eight of the teenage suspects were taken into custody at the school, a ninth was arrested off campus and a 10th turned himself in later in the day, police spokeswoman Janice Kim said. Four more arrests were expected, police said.
All the suspects are either current or former students at Venice High, Smith said.
"This is a painful moment for Venice High School, and this district," Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent 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."
Most of the teenagers arrested are suspected of outright sexual assault, and a smaller number are believed to have committed an unlawful sex act, Smith said.
The names of the teenagers taken into custody were not released because they are minors, and unless they had a prior criminal record they were expected to be released to their parents to await their court dates, he said.
The arrests follow a number of high-profile sexual assault cases at U.S. colleges and high schools.
In 2013, two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio, were found guilty as juveniles of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl, in a case that gained national attention after a photo and video appeared online to document the assault.