On March 18, 1993, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department arrested a group of teenage boys in Lakewood, California. Nine members of this group, who called themselves the Spur Posse, were charged with a variety of sex crimes, ranging from lewd conduct with a 10-year-old to rape. As details emerged, it became clear that the boys were seeking infamy for their sexual conquests. The group was estimated to include between 20 and 30 individuals.
One of the founding members of the group named it the Spur Posse because he was a fan of National Basketball Association (NBA) star David Robinson, who had just been traded to the San Antonio Spurs. Members of the group kept points on how many sexual conquests they had, and agreed to wear the jersey of a professional athlete whose number was the same as their amount. They even decided to take on the name of the athlete. Points could be counted only for sexual penetration, and only with a girl one time. Thus the idea was to have as many sexual partners as possible. The girls were referred to as “no-names” and whores, even though many of them really liked the popular boys. One member boasted of having sexual intercourse with 67 girls over a four-year-period. The boys also engaged in group sex so as to rack up more points, and even began videotaping their conquests.
Eventually, prosecutors dropped all but one of the charges, as they deemed most of the acts consensual. One member of the posse was convicted of lewd conduct with a 10-year-old and spent one year in the Kirby Juvenile Detention Center. He later explained that the young girl was selected because he needed more points so he could “make a name for himself.” Some of the parents defended their boys, claiming they only did what “any red-blooded American boy” would do.
Once news of the scandal broke, media became obsessed with the Spur Posse. Members of the group appeared on The Jenny Jones Show, on the cover of The New York Times, and in Newsweek, Penthouse, and many other major news and popular culture outlets. This attention gave the boys the notoriety they sought. At the same time, people began referring to Lakewood as “Rapewood.”
Interestingly, some of the boys were fairly successful students. Billy Shehan was in the school’s gifted program and ended up graduating with honors. Others did go on to commit crimes. Founder Dana Belman was sentenced to 10 years in state prison for burglary and fraud, another member served time for assault, and a third was killed in a street fight.
- Faludi, S. (1999). Stiffed: The betrayal of the American man. New York: William Morrow.
- Finley, L. (Ed.). (2007). Encyclopedia of school crime and violence. Westport, CT: Greenwood.