In what surely has to be a disappointment for a White House that used this case to dubious and distasteful political advantage, prosecutors have dropped charges against two Hispanic teens accused of raping a girl in a Maryland high school bathroom.
At least one of the teens was an “illegal” immigrant who handily fit the bill of the “Mexican rapists” whom Trump promised to keep out of our country during his presidential campaign.
White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said in March that this case showed why President Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration was integral to the safety of this country, where rape ostensibly doesn’t happen by boys homegrown.
“Part of the reason that the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this,” Spicer said, according to USA Today. “Immigration takes its toll on our people if it is not done legally.”
And yet on Friday, Montgomery County, Md., State’s Attorney John McCarthy said the charges against 18-year-old Henry E. Sanchez-Milian of Guatemala and 17-year-old Jose O. Montano of El Salvador were being dropped after a “painstaking investigation,” USA Today reports.
The prosecution determined that a 14-year-old female student at Rockville High School, who claimed that the two teens took turns raping her, didn’t pass muster.
Lawyers for the teens pointed to explicit text messages sent by the girl,and a graphic video she sent to Jose, who then shared it with Sanchez-Milian. Their attorneys said that she “consented” to the sex acts in the bathroom.
Defense lawyer Maria Mena called it “egregious” that Jose, her client, was being charged, while the 14-year-old girl who created the video and sent it to him voluntarily is not.
Though the rape charges are being dropped, the two young men are still being charged with possession of child pornography, which for Sanchez-Milian carries a potential sentence of up to five years. They also face deportation.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that Sanchez-Milian was found in Texas in August by a border-patrol agent who determined that he entered the U.S. from Mexico illegally; Jose came to the U.S. from El Salvador to live with relatives who are U.S. citizens after his grandmother died, leaving him alone there.
Deportation proceedings are still pending against Sanchez-Milian; Jose’s lawyer said that she will fight any deportation action against her client.
White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday declined to retract any comments the White House has made about the case.
Read more at USA Today.