Exclusive jailhouse interview with canyon rape suspect - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Exclusive jailhouse interview with canyon rape suspect

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SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS 8) – An 18-year-old rape suspect defended himself against accusations that he sexually assaulted a drunk teenage girl, in an exclusive jailhouse interview with News 8.

Raatib Prince is one of four teenagers accused of raping the 16-year-old girl after she passed out while binge-drinking with them in a Lincoln Park canyon off the 300 block of 49th street.

The three other suspects are juveniles and appeared Tuesday before a Juvenile Court judge. As the only legal adult arrested in the attack, only the charges against Prince were made public.

During a phone interview from George Bailey Detention Center, Prince said he was not the one who raped the girl and is actually the reason that she is alive today.

"If I didn't get help, she would have died," Prince told News 8. "And then it wouldn't have been a sexual assault: it would have been a murder case."

Prince also claims that everything he told police about the assault had been recounted to him.

"I did not witness it. There was a person that did it, there was a person that helped, and there was a person that actually saw it," Prince added. "I am not either of those people."

Prince said he was intoxicated that night, but he was walking his girlfriend home when the rape occurred. He claims he returned to the canyon and found himself alone with the unconscious victim.

"Everybody left. Her friends left," Prince told News 8. "If she didn't get help she would have died."

Prince claims he is the person who ran to get help, flagging down the person who called 911 and summoned police and medics.

Medics took the victim to a hospital, where she was admitted in "grave condition," San Diego police Lt. Anastasia Smith said. The girl remained unconscious until about 10 a.m. the following morning.

Detectives determined that she and teenage companions had consumed "large quantities" of straight vodka prior to the alleged assault. Investigators believe the girl had passed out about five hours prior to being rescued. 

"Although she was unconscious for several hours, none of the suspects called for help," the lieutenant said.

Prince claims the three underage suspects currently in custody are the real perpetrators that prosecutors should be going after.

The juveniles accused in the Nov. 26 assault are a 14-year-old girl and two 17-year-old boys. One of the three was arraigned last week, but it was unclear which one.

Prince was ordered held on $100,000 bail after pleading not guilty Monday to sexual penetration of an intoxicated person. He faces a maximum of eight years in state prison if convicted of the felony charge, according to Deputy District Attorney Karl Husoe.

The victim has since been released from the hospital and is expected to fully recover, Smith said. She is acquainted with the juvenile suspects and Prince, and attends the same high school as several of them, according to police, who declined to identify the campus. All five of them live near the open area where the unconscious girl was found.

Prince is scheduled to be back in court Thursday for a bail review. A readiness conference is set for Dec. 12 and a preliminary hearing for Dec. 14.

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