4th Damascus HS student charged in sex assault argues to have case moved to juvenile court

Administrators discovered a loaded gun in the student's book bag. He also had a container of marijuana-infused brownies. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)(Getty Images/iStockphoto/Drew Bloksberg)
The judge who will decide whether the trial of a Damascus High School football player, who was charged with using a broom to sexually assault younger students, should be transferred to juvenile court has heard arguments and will announce his ruling Thursday.

The 15-year-old sat quietly in a Montgomery County courtroom on Tuesday as his attorney Daniel Wright detailed why the Damascus student should not have his case tried in Circuit court.

Montgomery County prosecutors said he has a history of problems in school involving bullying, sexual harassment and, according to school records, inappropriate touching.

Three other teenage students who were originally charged as adults have had their cases transferred by Judge Steven Salant.

Randi Wortman, a clinical psychologist testifying for the defense, said he is a likable, energetic 15-year-old with severe, undiagnosed, untreated attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

She said ADHD can cause aggressiveness and impulse-control problems.

Wortman tested the student after his arrest and said that medication has greatly improved his behavior. She also said Abedi is amenable to treatment, which is a main component in determining whether a case should be moved to juvenile court.

However, in opening statements, prosecutors said a report by the Montgomery County Department of Juvenile Services concluded that Abedi was not amenable to treatment, and recommended he be tried in circuit court.

This student and three others were charged as adults with multiple counts of rape, attempted rape and conspiracy to commit rape in the Oct. 31 attack inside the junior varsity locker room in Damascus, Maryland. A fifth teen was charged as a juvenile.

Maryland state law requires anyone over the age of 14 charged with first-degree rape to be charged as an adult, but juvenile defendants are entitled to what are called waiver hearings before a Circuit Court judge to transfer the case to juvenile court.

The court will reconvene on Thursday morning, when the judge is expected to make his ruling.

WTOP’s Will Vitka and Megan Cloherty contributed to this report.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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