A rape and sexual assault case cited by the White House to justify its anti-immigrant rhetoric has been dropped by prosecutors.
The case involved two high school students in Rockville, Maryland, who were accused of raping a 14-year-old girl in a bathroom stall at school. The then-alleged rape drew national attention because of the severe nature of the crime and because the students were living in the United States illegally.
“After a painstaking investigation and review of these matters, we have concluded that the facts of this case do not support the charges originally filed,” John McCarthy, the Montgomery County state attorney, said Friday.
Eighteen-year-old Henry Sanchez-Milian, was charged as an adult for the alleged rape alongside a 17-year-old. They will now face charges of possession and distribution of child porn for forwarding videos and images of the 14-year-old. The 17-year-old will be treated as a juvenile for the new charges.
Mr Sanchez Milian's lawyer Andrew Jezic said he was grateful that the county planned on dropping the case but that the child pornography charges were "selective prosecution of elective promiscuity," according to the Washington Post. "It is hardly uncommon behaviour for teenagers."
Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was repeatedly asked on Friday if White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had unfairly jumped to conclusions about the case when he spoke about them months ago and whether he regretted the rhetoric and would issue a retraction. Ms Sanders’ only comment on the matter was that Mr Spicer had been speaking with the information available to him at the time.
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“Part of the reason that the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this,” Mr Spicer had originally said of the rape charges. “Immigration pays its toll on our people if it’s not done legally and this is another example.”
Mr Spicer also said that the case was troubling and brought up the question of whether it’s appropriate to allow undocumented immigrant children to attend public schools in the United States
Following his arrest, Mr Sanchez Milian’s father was picked up by federal immigration agents because he is in the United States illegally. Mr Sanchez-Milian came to the United States from Guatemala. Mr Montano came from El Salvador. They were both stopped at the border on their way into the United States but allowed to continue on to be with relatives.Reuse content