A rough translation of Maryland’s state motto is “Strong Deeds, Gentle Words.” In the case of a 14-year-old girl who was recently raped and sodomized in a restroom at Rockville High School by two males students, both immigrants, one facing a deportation hearing, that motto in practice has been reversed.
The police report of the incident is so graphic that it cannot be printed in full, but the facts are these: Henry Sanchez, 18, a Guatemala native who has a pending case against him, and 17-year-old Jose Montano, who came to America from El Salvador eight months ago, have been charged with first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual offenses.
The two are alleged to have dragged the 14-year-old girl into a boy’s restroom where they raped and sodomized her after she repeatedly screamed “no.”
Compounding the physical and possible long-term psychological damage to the girl is the response of school authorities and state legislators.
A letter sent to parents from Rockville High School officials said, “Ensuring a safe, secure and welcoming learning environment for all of our students is a top priority. Our staff remains vigilant in the monitoring of our school each and every day.”
Among the many questions that should be asked is why Messrs. Sanchez and Montano — both old enough to be seniors — were placed in a freshman class in the first place? They were given a translator to help them understand what the teacher said in English, but the word that describes that ludicrous decision is easily understood in both English and Spanish — “estupido.”
Equally “stupid” is a bill in the legislature that would declare Maryland a “sanctuary state.” If it passes and survives a likely veto by Gov. Larry Hogan, it would shield illegal immigrants from federal immigration laws. The Republican leader in the House of Delegates, Nic Kipke, says the measure “ignores the rule of law” and would create “anarchy” in the state.
One of the things the left claims to always be concerned about are the rights of minorities and the disenfranchised. One hears that argument invoked often in debates over transgender individuals and which bathroom they can use. If that works for liberals in this case, what about the right of a teenage girl to be protected against a violation of her person by illegal immigrants?
A corollary argument is that most illegal immigrants are not violent criminals. We hear the same argument when it comes to Muslims, that not all members of the religion should be judged by the acts of a violent few. Ask the victims or relatives of people who have died or been injured by radical Islamists how they feel about that argument. In the case of the young Rockville High School girl, ask her and her parents, siblings and other relatives if they are OK with allowing people like Messrs. Sanchez and Montano into their child’s school.
The high school from which I graduated is located not far from Rockville High. My school was a much safer place. Chewing gum and running in the halls were the worst offenses one could commit, and for repeat offenders that got you a trip to the vice principal’s office, or detention, and a note home to parents where further discipline was often applied.
If a law like the one under consideration by the Maryland legislature had been in force, Messrs. Sanchez and Montano might have been shielded from a deportation hearing because authorities would have been prevented from asking them about their immigration status or even their country of origin.
If convicted of the rape charges, they should be punished and then deported. School officials and legislators who have helped create the environment that has allowed such a horrible incident to occur must be held accountable by the citizens of Montgomery County, Md., and voters statewide.
• Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist. His latest book is “What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America” (Zondervan, 2014).