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SDSU breaks silence on rape investigation involving football players

An investigation has been underway for over seven months into the reported Oct. 16 gang rape on of an unconscious minor by members of the San Diego State University Aztecs football team.

The San Diego Police Department's probe — the existence of which became public Friday morning when The Los Angeles Times published an in-depth report about the case — is "complicated and ongoing," SDPD public affairs Lt. Adam Sharki acknowledged.

"We understand that the nature of the alleged crime has raised concerns, especially in a tight-knit college community," he said. "Since taking the initial report in October, San Diego Police Department sex crimes investigators have made this case a priority and have been diligent in pursuing leads and conducting interviews."

Sharki declined to release details about the reported assaults, including whether any suspects had been identified or questioned, asserting that publicly disclosing "any information prematurely" about the accusations "would not only compromise the integrity of the case but could be damaging to anyone directly involved with the investigation."

The girl's age was not disclosed.

"I am heartbroken about what is reported to have happened to this young woman," SDSU President Adela de la Torre said in a statement released Friday. "Our university will continue to fully comply with the San Diego Police Department investigation into this case to ensure the highest level of investigative and judicial process is allowed to proceed uncompromised," she said.

According to the Times, rumors have been spreading at SDSU for months that five football players raped the girl during an off-campus house party and "left her bloodied and bruised" in the backyard of the home.

"I am very scared and worried that nothing is being done about this," a student athlete told university officials via an anonymous reporting system, according to the newspaper.

SDSU released a statement about the reported assaults on Friday.

KPBS is a service of San Diego State University.

San Diego State University was thrust into the spotlight in June, along with UCLA, the University of California Berkeley and Chico State, for what the state said was a poor job of educating incoming freshmen about sexual violence. The state audit also admonished the school for not training faculty and staff in how to respond to reports of sexual assault. KPBS takes an in-depth look at the university's response and the problem of sexual assaults at colleges.