Aztecs football team
The San Diego State Aztec prepare to take the field before the start of the Mountain West Championship game in December. Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire

An investigation has been underway for more than seven months into the alleged gang rape last fall of an underage girl by members of the San Diego State University Aztecs football team, authorities confirmed Friday.

The San Diego Police Department‘s probe into the purported Oct. 16 sex assaults — the existence of which became public Friday morning when the Los Angeles Times published an in-depth report about the case — is “complicated and ongoing,” SDPD public-affairs Lt. Adam Sharki acknowledged.

“We understand that the nature of the alleged crime has raised concerns, especially in a tight-knit college community,” he said. “Since taking the initial report in October, San Diego Police Department sex-crimes investigators have made this case a priority and have been diligent in pursuing leads and conducting interviews.”

Sharki declined to release details about the alleged assaults, including whether any suspects had been identified or questioned, asserting that publicly disclosing “any information prematurely” about the alleged crime “would not only compromise the integrity of the case but could be damaging to anyone directly involved with the investigation.”

SDSU President Adela de la Torre issued a statement to students, faculty and staff confirming the investigation and saying that the university is cooperating with police.

“I am heartbroken about what is reported to have happened to this young woman,” she wrote. “I will do whatever it takes — absolutely whatever it takes — to support her and support due process. No person should ever experience what she went through and what she and her family must now live with.”

According to the Times, rumors have been spreading at SDSU for months that five football players raped the girl during an off-campus house party and “left her bloodied and bruised” in the backyard of the home. The girl’s age was not disclosed.

“I am very scared and worried that nothing is being done about this,” a student athlete told university officials via an anonymous reporting system, according to the newspaper.

City News Service contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.