US & Canada

Rape charges to be dropped in Maryland school case

Rockville High School (file photo) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rockville High School (file photo)

Maryland prosecutors are expected to drop charges against two immigrant teenagers accused of raping a student in a secondary school toilet.

Jose Montano, 17, and Henry Sanchez, 18, were charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in March.

Prosecutors said they are dropping the case against Mr Montano on Friday and are expected to do the same for Mr Sanchez, according to his lawyer.

The case drew national attention amidst a White House crackdown on immigration.

Authorities said Mr Sanchez came to the US from Guatemala illegally while Mr Montano's lawyers said he came from El Salvador to live with relatives who are citizens.

Following their arrest, the White House said "tragedies like this" had motivated President Donald Trump's actions on illegal immigration.

But prosecutors said evidence, including video, interviews and the victim's text messages, does not support her claims.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Henry Sanchez had entered the country illegally, records show

The victim said the two youths forced her into a boys' toilet at the beginning of the school day in March at Rockville High School, near Washington.

Lawyers for both defendants said the sex acts were consensual.

Mr Montano now faces child pornography charges in juvenile court.

Andrew Jezic, Mr Sanchez's attorney, told the Washington Post he was told on Thursday charges would be dropped against his client.

Mr Sanchez is also expected to face child pornography charges, according to Mr Jezic.

The superintendent of Montgomery schools, Jack Smith, said in an email to parents that his thoughts and prayers were with the school and especially the female student.

"I know that the staff and students remain focused on healing as a community and ending this school year 'Rockville Strong'," he said.

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