- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 7, 2017

Montgomery County prosecutors have dropped rape charges against two illegal immigrant students accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in a high school bathroom in March.

The case had drawn international attention, in part because President Trump had cited it as one of the reasons he wants to crack down on illegal immigration.

“We have concluded that the facts in this case do not support the original charges filed in this matter,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said Friday at a news conference.

“Due to the lack of corroboration and substantial inconsistencies from the facts that we have obtained from multiple sources since the filing of the original charging document, the original charges cannot be sustained, and prosecution on those charges is untenable,” the prosecutor added.

Mr. McCarthy noted “substantial inconsistencies” in the statement of the Rockville High School girl who reported the March 16 assault implicating Henry Sanchez Milian, 18, and Jose Montano, 17, as well as a lack of corroboration of her account. Both were charged as adults in the case.

Their defense attorneys said the sex was consensual, noting that the girl had agreed to the sexual encounter in text messages and had sent an explicit video to one of the young men.

Mr. McCarthy said prosecutors conducted a “painstaking investigation” that included interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records and DNA evidence and poring over school security footage and phone and computer records.

Investigators went as far as getting four different people to translate the text messages between the students to make sure “we got the verbiage correct and we knew what was being exchanged,” Mr. McCarthy said.

“As prosecutors, we always go where the evidence takes us regardless of public opinion or political pressure,” he said.

The girl had charged that Mr. Montano propositioned her for sex, and when she denied him, he pushed her into a boys’ bathroom and forced her into one of the stalls, where Mr. Milian joined him. She said both then raped her.

Defense attorneys said that security camera footage showed that the girl ran to meet one of the men and entered the bathroom with him willingly.

Despite being cleared of the rape charges, the pair still face child pornography charges stemming from the video the girl shared with them. Mr. Montano will enter juvenile court, and Mr. Milian will be tried as an adult and could face up to five years in prison.

Montgomery County Police said both students are in the country illegally, and Mr. Milian’s father, Adolfo Sanchez-Reyes, who has been in the U.S. for 12 years, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after his son was arrested on the rape charges.

The Washington Post reported that ICE is pursuing Mr. Milian for deportation to Guatemala, but he is not in federal custody. Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said the county would cooperate with federal authorities due to the severity of the child pornography charges.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer weighed in on the case during a March 21 press briefing, saying it was “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,” Mr. Spicer said.

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