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Gratz student reports an assault

The alleged abduction and rape of the girl, a sophomore, occurred on her way to school.

A 16-year-old girl told police that she was repeatedly raped Thursday after being abducted on her way to school, police said yesterday.

Police last night said they were questioning a suspect, a man in his 30s, and expected to charge him overnight.

The girl, a sophomore at Simon Gratz High School, was walking through a park area in the 1300 block of Orthodox Street on her way to catch the Market-Frankford El around 7 a.m. when she allegedly was confronted by a man with a gun, said Capt. John Darby, commander of the Special Victims Unit.

She said the man walked her to a residence "some blocks away" and then sexually assaulted her, Darby said. About 6 p.m., she said, she was taken in a small gray sedan to a park area near Frankford and Cheltenham Avenues, where she was assaulted again in the vehicle.

Darby said she told police she was able to flee, but not without sustaining "superficial" cuts to her neck and a finger with a "cutting instrument."

She said she flagged down a motorist who took her home to her mother. She was taken to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children by private automobile.

The girl remained in the hospital as of late yesterday afternoon and thus was not able to show detectives the various locations where the alleged incidents occurred, Darby said. She told officers her attacker wore a hooded jacket and blue jeans and had a mask covering his lower face.

Darby said the alleged abduction does not yet fit any pattern of assaults in the area.

The Philadelphia School District's emergency team of counselors and psychologists were available at Gratz yesterday to offer support for the 10th grader's friends, other students and staff.

Fernando Gallard, a district spokesman, said representatives from Women Organized Against Rape, a nonprofit group, also provided services at Gratz.

Gallard said the district was awaiting more information about the incident from police.

He said letters describing the alleged attack had not been sent to students' homes because the incident is alleged to have occurred far from the school's campus at Luzerne Street and Hunting Park Avenue.

So far, he said, the attack has not been linked to Gratz.