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4 teens charged as adults with rape in Damascus HS locker room attack

Editor’s Note: After this story was published, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office revised the charges against the four teens. On Nov. 30, a grand jury indicted the four teens on one count of first-degree rape, three counts of attempted first-degree rape and conspiracy to commit rape in relation to each of the alleged attacks.

WASHINGTON — Four teens arrested in connection with alleged sexual assault by members of the junior varsity football team at Damascus High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, have been charged as adults, police said Wednesday.

The teens, all 15, have been charged with rape and related charges in connection with the locker room attack.

A fifth remains charged as a juvenile.

All five had previously been charged as juveniles.

Jean Claude Abedi, of Clarksburg, is charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of attempted first-degree rape and two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree rape.

Kristian Jamal Lee, of Germantown, is charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of attempted first-degree rape and two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree rape.

Will Daniel Smith, of Clarksburg, is charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of attempted first-degree rape and two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree rape.

Caleb Thorpe, of Gaithersburg, is charged with four counts of first-degree rape and four counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree rape.

The State’s Attorney’s office declined to comment Wednesday.

In an afternoon statement, Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith said MCPS “continues to fully cooperate with the police investigation and will continue to provide support and resources for the Damascus High School community. Our thoughts are with the students, staff and all who have been affected.”

Reports of the alleged attacks have left the community struggling.

“I’m broken,” one father told reporters after a Monday news conference held by Smith.

He said his son was as stunned as parents have been by reports of the attacks.

“He was totally shocked and taken aback that anything could happen like this — he’s never heard of it,” said the parent, referring to the report that “brooming” was considered a tradition among team members.

During the news conference, Smith told reporters that the school system is implementing new training for all students involved in extracurricular activities. They will be briefed on what hazing is, how to identify it, and how to speak up if they believe they see hazing going on. He said the seriousness of hazing would be emphasized. “Sometimes it results in death — there have been incidents where students have died in this country,” Smith said.

Even if a student had gone through the training for another sport, they’d still have to sign up for the training for a new season, he said.

At-Large School Board member Jill Ortman-Fouse said she thought that the discussion of hazingand how dangerous it can be should be part of the curriculum that students get in a “body awareness” class in which they’re taught about sexual assault.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.


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