Florida beach revelers party on, ignore gang-rape next to them

  • Agencies, Florida
  • Updated: Apr 15, 2015 21:17 IST

Amidst cheerful revellers on a vibrant beach in Florida, a ghastly gang-rape took place in broad daylight and dozens of people did nothing to stop the crime.

Out of four young men allegedly involved in the assault that occurred sometime between March 10 and March 12, two have been arrested and an arrest warrant has been issued for a third, police officials said.

Two of the suspects are Alabama college students who were suspended after authorities discovered a mobile phone video that allegedly shows them sexually assaulting the woman while a large crowd of spring break revellers watches.

Mobile video: Florida gangrape case

Authorities have released few details of the assault that was only recently uncovered while university police were investigating a shooting.

The victim told authorities that she thought she had been drugged at the time, and she did not remember the incident well enough to report it. The sheriff's office said additional arrests are expected.

The sheriff's office released a short video of the crowd that was present at the time. The recording shows 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.

Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen described the video as "very, very graphic" and called it the "most disgusting, sickening thing" he had ever seen. He said the footage shows several men surrounding an incapacitated woman on a beach chair near Spinaker Beach Club in Panama City Beach.

McKeithen was quoted by The Independent as saying, "Within ten feet of where this happened there’s hundreds, hundreds of people standing there, watching, looking, seeing, hearing what’s going, and yet our culture and our society and our young people have got to the point where obviously this is acceptable.”

He said the incident reflected the emergence of a culture of being more concerned about spilling beer than a woman being gang-raped.

"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," he said.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Ruth Corley added that 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".

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