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Five Students Raped in Guatemala

January 19, 1998

ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. (AP) _ Five of 16 St. Mary’s College students and staff were raped while on an educational tour of Guatemala, a college spokesman said Sunday.

All 16 were robbed by four semiautomatic-toting men, who raped five students, said spokesman Torre Meringolo.

``They were on a tour bus and the bus was held down by four armed bandits who proceeded to rob each of the individuals. Then they sexually assaulted five of the women, all students,″ he said. ``The college has run international programs for a number of years and we’ve ever had an incident quite like this.″

There were 13 students and three staff members in the educational tour sponsored by the public four-year liberal arts college.

The group was stopped around 4 p.m. Friday, he said.

The students who were raped were treated in a Guatemala hospital and returned home Saturday night, he said.

The rest of the group was scheduled to return Sunday night in a Washington-area airport, he said, refusing to name the airport.

Meringolo refused to identify any of the people who went on the Guatemala trip for an anthropological tour. The students came from all classes, freshman to senior.

It was the third year that the college had sponsored the tour to the Central American nation.

The college has been working with the State Department, which is treating it with ``the utmost urgency,″ the spokesman said.

``We were shocked at his outrage,″ he said. ``Our first action and impulse was the safety of the students and getting the students home.″

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