It’s been a long time coming, but a 19-year-old was sentenced Friday for his role in a 2009 Richmond High School homecoming gang rape.
Ari Abdullah Morales was sentenced in Martinez after he accepted a plea deal last year with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office. Instead of receiving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, Morales received 27 years in state prison.
Morales was charged with rape in concert, penetration with a foreign object and forced oral copulation in concert of a 16-year-old girl outside of a homecoming dance at Richmond High in October 2009.
Morales, then also 16, penetrated the victim with a foreign object then stood by as she was beaten and raped by accomplices in a dark courtyard.
Judge Barbara Zuniga talked about her disbelief over what Morales pleaded guilty to doing:
“I think you’re aware that what happened that night, and what you did and what you failed to do in getting help for the victim…is almost inconceivable….she was so dehumanized.”
Even so, the judge granted Morales’ family a moment to hug him before he was taken out of the courtroom by authorities. His sister and parents were present and spoke of him as being a good son and brother before he was officially sentenced.
Morales is one of six defendants in the case that shocked the Bay Area back in 2009. The others have also pleaded guilty to their charges in hopes of similarly receiving a lighter sentence.