Charges dropped against immigrant teens in high school rape case

By Ed Adamczyk  |  May 5, 2017 at 1:04 PM
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May 5 (UPI) -- Rape and other charges were dropped Friday against two teens in a Rockville, Md., case that fed into the national debate over immigration.

Prosecutors said they will drop charges against Jose Montano, 17, and Henry Sanchez Milian, 18, though a case of child pornography possession related to images on Sanchez Milian's cellphone would be pursued.

Montano, an immigrant from El Salvador, and Sanchez Milian, from Guatemala, were accused of raping a 14-year-old girl, at Rockville High School in March. Defense lawyers said the sex acts were consensual, and that text messages and school surveillance video did not substantiate the girl's claim that she was pushed into a restroom and assaulted.

The two teens were charged as adults and jailed without bond. Montano was released Friday.

Authorities have said both were in the United States illegally. They were detained at the border, then allowed to proceed to Maryland, where each lives with relatives.

The case received national attention, with immigration advocates urging politicians not to judge the arrival of immigrant children by the case. Protesters, meanwhile, demanded the removal of the school superintendent.

Sean Spicer, President Donald Trump's press secretary, when asked about the case during a press briefing after the story was reported, called it "shocking, disturbing, horrific."

"Part of the reason that the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this," he said.

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