Women’s and Children’s Advocates on the Rockville Rape: The Sounds of Silence
Recently, the State’s Attorney responsible for prosecuting 18-year-old Henry Sanchez Milian and 17-year-old Jose Montano, the two illegal aliens accused of raping a 14-year-old girl in a Rockville, Md., high school bathroom announced that all rape and sexual assault charges have been dropped. (Both suspects are currently facing child pornography charges for having taken cell phone pictures of the alleged assault.) The reason: The facts no longer support the original charges filed. Allegedly, the victim “actively planned a sexual encounter” with the 17 year old suspect.The defense was predictably quick to blame the victim. It’s standard practice for the defense in a rape case to claim that the encounter was consensual. However, it is comparatively rare for the prosecution, women’s advocacy groups, and children’s advocacy groups to quietly accept the portrayal of a child victim as a sexual predator seeking a kinky liaison in a high school bathroom. In fact, the characterization of this incident as a “planned sexual encounter” by both the prosecution and defense is as disturbing as it is distasteful.In Maryland the legal age of consent is 16. However, minors who are between 14 and 16 years of age can consent to sexual activity with a partner who is not more than four years older. This is known as a “Romeo and Juliet” provision, a type of legal exception intended to avoid criminalizing teenage sexual experimentation. Maryland’s Romeo and Juliet provision applies to the Rockville case, because the victim was 14 and the alleged perpetrators were not a full four years older than her. So the Rockville crime isn’t subject to prosecution as a statutory rape case.However, in Maryland, if the victim initially consents to a sexual encounter but subsequently withdraws consent, then a rape has still occurred. Maryland’s highest court reached that conclusion in Maouloud Baby v. State of Maryland, a case involving a freshman at Montgomery College who was sexually assaulted by a two students from Watkins Mill High School in Montgomery Village. The Baby decision was heralded by women’s rights groups as a triumph – no means no, even in medias res.Where are those groups now? Apart from a few small rallies demanding that the Maryland General Assembly change the state’s statutory rape laws, the silence has been deafening. In fact, following the dismissal of all rape/sexual assault charges, most of the commentary has argued in favor of keeping Maryland’s current statutory rape scheme, so as to avoid criminalizing “consensual sex between minors.”Regardless of how the encounter began, the child victim in this case told police that she asked the suspects to stop. While the prosecution has stated that conflicting accounts from the victim undermine the credibility of her accusations, forensic investigators discovered both blood and other bodily fluids in the bathroom where she alleges the rape occurred. The victim’s testimony, combined with the physical evidence, should make for a case that is prosecutable under the same theory advanced in Baby v. State. While rape charges have a reputation for being difficult to pursue, most responsible prosecutors with forensic evidence that tends to establish the perpetration of a forcible sex act would move forward on charges directly related to the crime.Despite the profoundly disconcerting circumstances of this case, not a single women’s rights group or child advocacy organization appears to have spoken up publicly on behalf of the victim. So the question must be asked: Did the victim of the Rockville High School rape become a casualty of dueling narratives of political correctness? If so, we should all be outraged because the resounding quietude of women’s rights and child advocacy groups seems to be sending a pretty clear message that, in the new hierarchy of victimhood, illegal aliens with alleged gang affiliations rank higher than 14-year-old girls who have become victims of the vilest form of sexual exploitation.
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