Prosecutors: Teens charged with rape of Rockville student plotted encounter

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Two teens charged with rape in the sexual assault of a Rockville High student exchanged messages plotting a sexual encounter involving the girl and both boys, Montgomery County prosecutors said in court on Thursday.

The new details shared during a bond review hearing for the younger boy counter claims from defense attorneys that the 14-year-old girl consented to the sexual activity. The girl told police the two boys took turns holding her down as they raped and sodomized her in a school bathroom. She said she told them repeatedly to stop.

Prosecutors said that they have text messages between Jose Montano, 17, and Henry Sanchez, 18, planning for Montano to convince the girl to have sex with him in a school bathroom. The plan was then for Sanchez to interrupt and to threaten to tell a teacher if Montano and the girl didn’t let him take part.

Defense attorneys for Montano said that the encounter between Montano and the girl was consensual and that the two teens arranged via text message to meet in the bathroom. The girl planned to skip gym class to have sex with Montano, they said.

Montano and the girl discussed a previous sex act in text messages and also shared sexual videos and photos, defense attorneys said. They claimed the girl lied to police when she suggested she didn’t know Montano well. The girl also didn’t tell investigators that she and Montano had sex together previously, calling it “impeachment by omission,” the defense attorneys said.

Judge James Sarsfield asked how Sanchez fit into such a scenario, but Montano’s attorneys said they couldn’t explain Sanchez’s involvement or couldn’t say whether the girl also consented to sex with Sanchez.

Sarsfield denied a request to set bail for Montano and he remains held without bond at a juvenile detention center.

After the hearing, Sanchez’s attorney said that all three consented and that no evidence of defensive wounds was found on the girl that would demonstrate that she physically resisted.

“All three parties were willing participants to this encounter,” Andrew Jezic said. “There were no scratches, there were no bruises, there was no screaming.”

Prosecutors have obtained the girl’s messages to Montano, and they have photos of the Sanchez and Montano flashing MS-13 gang signs. And county police are investigating whether the boys have any ties to the gang.

Montano’s attorney Maria Mena said the 17-year-old is not a member of the MS-13 gang. Jezic said Sanchez also denies being a member of a gang.

The Central American street gang has been tied to a series of homicides in Montgomery County in the past year including the killing of a Gaithersburg girl whose body was found in a Fairfax County industrial park. Another teen was stabbed 40 times by suspected gang members in a Gaithersburg park.

Both teens are charged as adults with one count of rape and two counts of a first-degree sex offense. Neither attended Thursday’s hearing.

Both entered the country illegally in 2016 by crossing the border in Texas. Montano is originally from El Salvador and Sanchez is from Guatemala.

Few details have been released about Montano’s immigration status because he is a minor. Sanchez was released by Border Patrol to the custody of his father after he was stopped in August. He has not been given a date for an immigration hearing, said Dave Hollenberg, another attorney representing the 18-year-old.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that prosecutors have obtained the girl’s messages.

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