A 14-year-old Richmond boy pleaded not guilty today to charges that he raped a 12-year-old girl in a stairwell at Portola Middle School in El Cerrito on Dec. 10.The boy, whose name is not being released because he is a minor, has been charged with forcible rape, false imprisonment and lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14. All three charges are felonies.The boy’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender K.C. Donovan, denied the charges. The boy, who looked small and frightened during the hearing in Martinez today, is scheduled to return to court Jan. 22 for a pretrial conference. Until then, he will remain in custody at juvenile hall in Martinez.None of the boy’s family members attended the hearing, at which Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Diana Becton Smith ordered that a gag order in the case remain in effect.West Contra Costa Unified School District spokesman Marin Trujillo said the stairwell was empty when the alleged attack happened because classes were in session, but that both students a reason not to be in class.El Cerrito police said the victim had complained about the suspect to school staff prior to the alleged rape.The incident has prompted school officials to examine the campus’ safety policies, Trujillo said. Students are now being escorted by a school staff member whenever they need to leave class, he said.The school’s principal and assistant principal were placed on paid administrative leave immediately after the incident but returned to work Dec. 18, Trujillo said.
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