WASHINGTON — The lawyer for one of the defendants in the reported rape of a 14-year-old Rockville high school student says there are text messages indicating the sexual encounter was consensual and that charges in the case should be dropped.
Now, he says, texts and photos sent from the girl to the second defendant, 17-year-old Jose Montano, will show that all three teenagers were willing participants.
“It’s very clear that there were explicit text messages sent between the young lady and the 17-year-old defendant the night before, planning this type of encounter in the school the very morning that this happened,” he said.
But can a 14-year-old girl give consent to sex? Jezic said yes, under certain conditions.
“The law says that somebody who is 14 cannot give consent to sexual relations with someone who is four years to the day or older,” he said. “Mr. Sanchez is three years and eight months older than this young lady.”
Montgomery County police have said that they are confident that the case against Sanchez and Montano is strong. Jezic said he wants the public to remember that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
“When police or a prosecutor announces an arrest, the natural human instinct is to jump to the conclusion that the police got it right. But every once in a while the police get it deadly wrong,” he said.
The case has generated national headlines and heated debate related to the fact that both defendants are in the country illegally. Given that attention, Jezic said he’s thought about requesting a change of venue, but at this point is leaning against that decision.
“Having such a culturally rich, diverse, immigrant population, I think Montgomery County might be as good as any county in the nation,” he said. However, he added, “We’re going to keep an open mind about it, and we might decide to move it out.”
In the meantime, Jezic’s 18-year-old client remains in custody. “He’s gotten some threats in jail, but I think he’s doing pretty well,” he said. “He knows what the truth is.”
Since the reported attack, Rockville High School officials have told the public they’ll review safety in the school and Montgomery County’s school superintendent announced all schools will undergo a security review.