Girl, 14, Reports Rape At South Philadelphia Rec Center

Girl, 14, Reports Rape At South Philadelphia Rec Center

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PHILADELPHIA -

Police say that a 14-year-old girl was raped inside a women's bathroom that's about 20 feet away from the front door at the Vare Recreation Center. Now, police are searching for a suspect.

It's supposed to be a place where kids should be safe. Instead, crime scene investigators were collecting evidence from the Vare Recreation Center to investigate the reported rape.

Parents and kids were still coming and going as police detectives investigated the Wednesday afternoon attack. Most parents were unaware that a rape was reported, even while their kids were inside.

An after-school gymnastics class was going on during the reported rape. A police source says that witnesses reported a man coming out of the women's bathroom shortly after the reported attack. He had his pants down and ran away.

"I'm just shocked. Bad things happen in places all the time. But usually here, it's nice," said Celeste Carangi of South Philadelphia.

Police say they'll be looking at surveillance video from the center. In fact, it was a year ago that 15 surveillance cameras were installed here as part of a program to put cameras in every recreation center.

"Probably a good check for me. I don't' tend to think about those things maybe as much as I should. And obviously sadness for the fact that it happened," said a resident of the neighborhood.

So far, police are not giving out to many details including description of the suspect. And there was no comment Wednesday night regarding security measures from the city's Department of Recreation. The 14-year-old girl was undergoing a medical exam tonight.

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