Deputies are searching for two men accused in a gang rape on a crowded beach in Panama City Beach, Florida. Two other suspects have already been charged and the incident was captured on cell phone video, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.
Last month, a group assaulted a woman in the middle of the day during spring break, but no one intervened. The video shows hundreds of beachgoers continuing to party while less than 10 feet away, police say at least three men were gang-raping an apparently unconscious 19-year-old woman.
The cellphone video is key to the case because investigators say the victim of the attack believes she was drugged. Police in Alabama only discovered the video because they were investigating an unrelated shooting. After the video was found, they alerted Florida authorities.
The sheriff of Bay County, Florida, told reporters he’s seen many spring break excesses over the years, but this left him disgusted.
“People standing, almost rubbing the incapacitated girl. Standing there, more concerned about spilling their beer than they did someone being raped,” Sheriff Frank McKeithen said. “We have got to get control of our beaches. It is not safe for our children to be out there on the beaches when these animals are out there conducting themselves like this.”
Police arrested two suspects Friday, Delonte Martistee, 22, and Ryan Calhoun, 23. Both are charged with sexual battery by multiple perpetrators. The two men are students at Troy University in Alabama where Martistee was a star on the track team.
“As soon as it became formal that they were going to be arrested, we immediately placed them on temporary suspension,” Troy University senior vice chancellor Walter Givhan said.
Authorities say the gang rape happened behind the Spinnaker Beach Club, a popular bar, during the second weekend of March. The victim told police she never reported it because she had no memory of the attack and believes she was drugged. The sheriff’s department located her after the video surfaced.
“This is not the first video we’ve recovered, it’s not the second video, it’s not the third video,” McKeithen said. “There’s a number of videos we’ve recovered with things similar to this and I can only imagine how many we haven’t recovered.”
Panama City Beach has been struggling to control crime associated with the hordes of students who crowd the city every year for spring break. Last month, several college students were injured during a shooting at a house party.
Sparky Sparkman, who owns Spinnaker said most spring breakers aren’t troublemakers, but he worries about those who are.
“If you come here with the idea of doing that, causing problems, we’re going to come after you and put you away for a long time,” Sparkman said.
The sheriff did not release any more information about the two other men wanted in connection with the gang rape. As for the two who were arrested, Calhoun is now out on bond and Martistee remains in custody. CBS News was unable to reach them for comment. They are due back in court next month.