Public defender Melissa Hale Wednesday pleaded not guilty on behalf of Michael Devon Bobby Sykes, 19, charged as an adult with rape of a child, rape in concert of a child, sodomy by force and violence, oral copulation on a child, kidnapping for rape and committing the crimes to benefit a gang, The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., reported.
Sykes, who faces life in prison if convicted of all charges, is the only adult charged in the alleged March 10 assault at Victoriano Park in Moreno Valley, where prosecutors say an older girl, whose name has been withheld, lured the child to where Sykes and six male juveniles were waiting.
Of the remaining five alleged assailants, prosecutors say they will seek to try four juveniles as adults, the newspaper reported.
Hale said the charges against her client are related to an age difference and rape of a minor.
"He's the most difficult person in the case, because he's the only adult involved," she said.