gang-raping a 14-year-old girl in a bathroom at Rockville High School warned in media interviews they would stoop low to defend their clients. Yesterday, they began their campaign of victim-shaming the girl in a court filing. According to the Washington Post, an attorney for alleged rapist Jose Montano, 17, again claims the encounter was consensual.
The attorney, David Wooten, also claims that the victim sent Montano "explicitly compromising images of herself" in text messages, and that she agreed to the encounter in advance via text. There's no indication Wooten has actually provided such evidence to the court yet, as he attempts to get his client bailed out of the unspecified juvenile facility he is locked up in.
Such legal boasts are clearly also an effort to intimidate the victim, in hopes that she will decline to provide the testimony that could put Montano and second suspect Henry Sanchez, 18, behind bars for life. They may also represent a craven attempt to appeal to a psychological weakness found in society regarding rape. "Why do we blame victims?" asked Juliana Breines, PhD, in a 2013 article. "The more innocent a victim, the more threatening they are. Victims threaten our sense that the world is a safe and moral place, where good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. When bad things happen to good people, it implies that no one is safe, that no matter how good we are, we too could be vulnerable."
Yet, even if such texts exist (for the sake of argument), they fail to prove rape didn't occur. "No" still means "no," and police say they have physical evidence of forcible rape in this case.
Meanwhile, for the second time in a week, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has delivered a cannonball to the gut of Montgomery County elected officials. Even as county politicians were declaring Montgomery wasn't a sanctuary county early last week, ICE at the same moment was releasing a list of such jurisdictions, and MoCo was on it. Yesterday, ICE struck again.
As first reported by Kevin Lewis of ABC7 News, the father of the other accused rapist Henry Sanchez, Adolfo Sanchez-Reyes, has been arrested by ICE agents. This appears to have been the first ICE raid within Montgomery County since President Donald Trump took office. The Montgomery County Council has previously gloated that they have held ICE from conducting raids in the county. This arrest suggests otherwise. Sanchez-Reyes is in the country illegally like his son. He was living in an unidentified apartment complex on Bel Pre Road, and is now behind bars in Jessup awaiting an immigration hearing.
If that wasn't enough, Attorney General Jeff Sessions blasted the Maryland General Assembly's Trust Act Monday, a proposed law that the Montgomery County Council played a major role in writing. Sessions said the Trust act would put "the State of Maryland at more risk for violence and crime," a charge with extra sting in the wake of the Rockville High gang rape and the execution-style murder of a Gaithersburg girl by the MS-13 gang she became involved with at Watkins Mill High School.
In his weekly news conference Monday, County Council President Roger Berliner stressed his belief that Montgomery is not a sanctuary county, but did admit "our county does not honor civil detainer requests," which he considers unconstitutional. He did not explain why he thought the federal government would ask the county to do something that was illegal. But as an attorney, he was careful to use some lawyerly language: "We fully comply with the law as we understand it to be."