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Cops: Woman Gang Raped on Public Beach While Crowd Watched
A sheriff's department in Florida has released a video showing spring break revelers milling about on a beach not 10 feet from where an unconscious 19-year-old girl was being gang raped by a group of men.
The brief cellphone clip came to light as deputies continued searching for two additional suspects in the March attack in Panama City Beach that was witnessed by hundreds of people who failed to intervene.
So far, authorities have arrested a pair of students from Alabama's Troy University who were allegedly seen in a cellphone video recorded last month sexually assaulting a 19-year-old girl in Panama city Beach.
Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen described the graphic video as the 'most disgusting, sickening thing' he had ever seen likened the scene to 'wild animals preying on a carcass laying in the woods'. He said the sickening footage shows at least three men surrounding an incapacitated woman on a beach chair.
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Hunt continues: Officials in Florida are searching for two men suspected of taking part in a gang rape of a 19-year-old unconscious girl at the Spinnaker Beach Club in Panama City, Florida last month
Caught on camera: This is a screen shot from a video clip released by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office showing the moment a man allegedly sexually assaulted a woman on a crowded beach. The image has been obscured by the sheriff's department
Delonte Martistee, 22, of Bainbridge, Georgia, and Ryan Calhoun, 23, of Mobile, Alabama, were charged with sexual battery for the incident believed to have occurred between March 10 and 12.
Sheriff McKeithen said the video of the attack showed hundreds of spring break revelers impassively looking on as the unconscious teenage girl was being raped by a group of men, CBS News reported.
‘People standing, almost rubbing the incapacitated girl,’ the sheriff said. ‘Standing there, more concerned about spilling their beer than they did someone being raped.
McKeithen revealed that so far, his deputies have recovered more than four recordings of the sexual assault, and he believes that are more videos out there.
The sheriff’s office released a short clip showing the crowd they said was present at the time. The recording depicts a seemingly normal day at the beach for dozens of bikini-clad spring breakers goofing off and standing around talking about Instagram.
At one point, a few people cheer, but it’s unclear why.
Caught: Last week, Delonte Martistee, 22 (left), and Ryan Calhoun, 23 (right), were arrested for sexual assault and officially suspended from Troy University
It is unclear from the video released what bystanders could actually see.
But Sheriff’s spokeswoman Ruth Corley said the video was released ‘to show the crowd that was surrounding the incident and to show people, not only was it a horrible event, but it was witnessed by so many people who did absolutely nothing to stop or call police.’
The alleged victim told deputies she thought she had been drugged before the incident and that she was afraid to report it because she could not remember many details, Panama City News Herald reported.
'She knows something happened, but she doesn't know what happened,' the Bay County sheriff said.
Officials did not release any more information about the two other men wanted in connection with the gang rape, but they said additional arrests are expected.
Friday's charges against college track star Martistee and his classmate Calhoun stem from a video footage that was found on a cell phone during an unconnected investigation into a shooting in Troy, Alabama.
Alerting the Bay County Sheriff's Office, the two departments worked together to identify two suspects and the alleged victim.
The video allegedly shows hundreds of people gathered around the girl as the men violate her while she lays on a beach chair. The unidentified victim believes she was drugged before the incident. Above, the beach behind Spinnaker is seen on April 12, 2015
Martistee of Bainbridge, Georgia is a promising track star at Troy University according to officials, but he has since been removed from the team
Calhoun, of Mobile, Alabama pictured above in a picture from Facebook. Officials say they more arrests are expected
Above, a view of the Spinnaker Beach Club during a spring break party
In the video, McKeithen said one man is heard in the clip saying, 'she isn't going to know,' before putting his hand inside her bikini bottoms.
The incapacitated young woman is surrounded by several men while seated on a beach chair during the video filmed behind Spinnaker Beach Club.
McKeithen told a press conference: 'This is happening in broad daylight with hundreds of people seeing and hearing what is happening and they are more concerned about spilling their beer than somebody being raped.
'This is such a traumatizing event for this girl. No one should have to fear this would happen in Panama City Beach, but it does.'
The sheriff's office said it has encountered incidents like this before through leads found on social media.
In one video, police said a crowd pours beer on a girl who appears to be incapacitated while a male performs a sexual act on her.
And recently, officers took inventory of the guns and drugs recovered during Spring Break this year which included marijuana, MDMA, cocaine, heroin as well as 49 handguns - which increased from nine last year.
This most recent alleged sexual attack and the arrests made on Friday have served as a tipping point for the Bay County Sheriff's Office.
McKeithen touted laws during Spring Break such as banning drinking on the beach and parking lots as well as clubs not being able to allow non-military people under 21 to enter. He said he will fight to have even more strict Spring Break regulations in the coming year.
'This draws the line in the sand for us,' he said. 'It is not safe for our children on the beach... If you condone this behavior, you should be in jail, as far as I'm concerned.'
Following their arrest, Martistee and Calhoun were suspended from Troy University. The 22-year-old student-athlete, who remained in jail Sunday, was also removed from the track and field team.
*Police in Panama City, Florida say a woman was allegedly gang raped on a public in broad daylight while dozens – perhaps hundreds – of spring breakers looked on, but did nothing to help, reports People.com.
“It’s the most disgusting, sickening thing I’ve ever seen,” Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen told reporters in a press conference on Friday, adding that police only learned of the incident after stumbling across a video of the alleged attack.
According to authorities, the video surfaced on April 2. After an unrelated shooting in Troy, Alabama, police discovered the video on a witness’s cell phone. They turned the video over to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, who charged college students Delonte’ Martistee, 22, and Ryan Austin Calhoun, 23. Both suspects are students at Troy State University.
“This is an open investigation, and there are more suspects,” a police spokesperson tells People.com.
Calhoun and Martistee have been released on bond. Their next court date is May 19.
The 19-year-old victim appeared to be passed out on a chair behind a beach club. That’s when, police say, several men attacked her. Cops allege that many people watched, some recording the incident on their cell phones – but no one intervened.
“Within 10 feet from where this is happening there are hundreds of people standing there watching, looking, seeing, hearing what is going on,” McKeithen told AL.com, “and yet our culture and our society and our young people have got to the point where obviously this is acceptable somewhere.”
“This is happening in broad daylight with hundreds of people seeing and hearing what is happening,” McKeithen added in the press conference, “and they are more concerned about spilling their beer than somebody being raped.”