WASHINGTON — A lawyer for one of two Rockville High School students charged with raping a 14-year-old female student last week said that his client is innocent, and that he plans to mount an aggressive defense for 18-year-old Henry Sanchez-Milian.
“Based on all the interviews we’ve done and all the information we’ve gathered, this appears to be a consensual encounter,” said Andrew Jezic, a criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor.
Thursday morning’s incident in a remote boy’s bathroom at the sprawling high school was a violent and brutal attack, Montgomery County police said. Sanchez-Milian and 17-year-old Jose Montano are being held without bond and have been charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sexual assault.
The case has captured national attention, because both Sanchez-Milian and Montano face possible federal immigration enforcement. While the two have received public scorn, Jezic described his client as a quiet man from a hard-working family.
“He’s very humble. He’s soft-spoken. He is somebody who is just grateful to be in this country and wants to play by the rules,” Jezic said.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Sanchez-Milian unlawfully entered the country in August and was ordered to appear before an immigration judge at a hearing that was never scheduled.
Jezic rejected any criticism based on his client’s immigration status and, instead, directed criticism of his own at ICE.
“ICE could have thrown this young man out of the country,” said Jezic, who has been hired by the father and other family members who he said are pooling their resources to provide a defense for the 18-year-old.
“ICE had their hands on him for three or four weeks. ICE chose to let him go without even a hearing. ICE simply made the discretionary decision to let him go into the hands of his father,” he said.
“The young man says he’s innocent and we’re going to plead 100 percent innocent, 100 percent not guilty,” Jezic said.