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Two California high school officials arrested for failing to report sex assaults on campus

David Yang, 38, and Natasha Harris, 37, both assistant vice principals at Carter High School in Rialto, California, were charged with child abuse and failure to report child abuse.

Two assistant vice principals in Southern California have been arrested, accused of failing to notify authorities after three students came forward claiming they were sexually assaulted on the high school campus, officials say.

David Yang, 38, and Natasha Harris, 37, both assistant vice principals at Carter High School in Rialto, California, were arrested early Wednesday on school grounds.

Rialto police were notified on Feb. 16 about a sexual battery that occurred at the school regarding a 15-year-old female student who had been allegedly sexually assaulted by a 17-year-old male student "several times over the past three months,” according to a news release

That victim reported the abuse to Yang and Harris in November 2021, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office said.

Detectives investigated the allegations and learned of two additional female students, 15 and 16, who were allegedly sexually assaulted by the same suspect. 

The investigation found a second victim reported the assault to Yang and Harris in September 2021 and a third victim came forward in February this year.

However, no notification to police was made until Feb. 16. 

Under California law, school officials like Harris and Yang are required to immediately alert law enforcement of child abuse or neglect. 

Yang and Harris have been charged with one felony count of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death and two misdemeanor counts of failure of a mandated reporter to report child abuse or neglect, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday.

Yang and Harris were taken into custody without incident and booked into the West Valley Detention Center with a bail set at $150,000, police said.

Lawyer information for the two was not immediately available.

The mother of one of the victims, who recently turned 16, told NBC Los Angeles that when her daughter reported the alleged assault to an assistant principal, she was brushed off. 

The accuser’s father told the outlet that the student was told, “Maybe it was the way you were dressed or you might be seeking attention.”

“For that reason, she kept quiet because she was afraid she was going to get expelled from school,” the mother said.

The mother added on the suspect, “The student -- I don’t know if he grew a little crush on her -- he started stalking her.”

The parents of the victim said they didn’t know about the assault allegation until last week because their daughter had complained to school officials that the suspect was harassing her and a school official called them. The mother then talked to her daughter who told her she reported the alleged assault in November. 

The parents are outraged that they weren’t alerted immediately.

“They failed to notify us, they failed to notify police,” the father said. 

The mother said she was the one that called police to alert them about the alleged attack.

The juvenile suspect in the case was issued a citation and released into the custody of his parents, pending criminal charges being filed, police said. 

“The Assistant Principals’ failure to report sexual assault on their campus erodes the trust that students and parents alike should have regarding the safety and protection of all the children in their care," District Attorney Jason Anderson said in a statement. “Their failure as mandated reporters to notify law enforcement lead to further victimization of two students, and the sexual assault of a third victim which was preventable.”

NBC News has reached out to Carter High School and the Rialto Unified School District for comment on the matter.

A similar incident unfolded earlier this month in Midland, Texas, when five officials at Midland Christian School were arrested and charged with failing to report the alleged sexual assault of a ninth grader during baseball practice. 

The Rialto Police Department requests that anyone who may have information related to this incident please contact Lieutenant James Mills at (909) 820-2632. Witnesses can also anonymously report information through WeTip at (800) 782-7463.