A judge granted a continuance at the request of accused Rockville rape suspect Jose Montano’s lawyers on Friday, postponing his preliminary hearing to April 7.
“We have a lot of information that is coming in daily,” attorney Maria Mena explained, adding that they “have new information coming on Wednesday” regarding text messages found on phones.
Earlier in the week, another attorney for Montano told the Washington Post that the alleged attack, in which the 14-year-old alleged victim told police that two suspects raped her orally, anally, and vaginally after dragging her into a bathroom stall on Mar. 16 “was a consensual act” and “preplanned.”
Mena said in court on Thursday that the alleged victim and Montano exchanged text messages, pictures, and video, and told Montano over text she agreed to have sex with him the night before, according to Bethesda Magazine. But since she did not reveal these text conversations to a police detective during an interview that occurred the same day as the alleged gang rape, her reliability is questionable, Mena and attorney David Wooten argued. A prosecutor pushed back, saying that the encounter with Montano and 18-year-old suspect Henry E. Sanchez Milian was in no way consensual, and the two appear to have gang ties:
“The dynamics of the case have changed,” Mena said. The girl and Montano also exchanged photos and video in which they discussed meeting the next day, according to Montano’s attorneys.
Prosecutor Mary Herdman argued that regardless of any previous consent the girl may have given to Montano, the act was not consensual and that the defendant and Sanchez Milian appeared to conspire together to commit the assault.
Herdman said the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office also has images of both Montano and Sanchez Milian flashing MS-13 gang signs.
During a Mar. 16 police interview, the alleged victim stated she repeatedly refused to have sex with Montano and Sanchez Milian, before and during the alleged gang rape:
Victim A was in the school hallways when she met with the two other students later identified as Jose O. Montano and Henry E. Sanchez Milian. Victim A knew Montano as a friend and did not know Sanchez Milian personally. Montano and Victim A engaged in a conversation and Montano asked Victim A for a hug. Then Montano slapped her butt and asked her to come with him and his friend, Sanchez Milian. They were walking near the gym area when they passed by the bathroom. Montano asked Victim A for sex, which she refused. Montano asked again, more persistently and pushed Victim A into the boy’s bathroom. Montano then pushed Victim A into the one bathroom stall with a door. Sanchez Milian came in and left.
Victim A was holding a sink to avoid going into the bathroom when Montano grabbed her hand and pulled her into the stall.
After the interview, a forensic specialist found blood and bodily fluids in the boys’ bathroom.
Montano faces one charge of rape in the first degree and two charges of sex offenses in the first degree, and is being chraged as an adult. He required a Spanish-speaking interpreter in court. Maryland court records state Sanchez Milian’s preliminary hearing will take place on April 14. He faces the same charges as Montano. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed an immigration detainer request Sanchez Milian, but will not comment on Montano’s case.
Sanchez Milian is a citizen of Guatemala and crossed illegally into the U.S. seven months ago, where Border Patrol agents encountered him in Texas. Maryland court officials said Montano came to the U.S. eight months ago from El Salvador.
Montano’s and Sanchez Milian’s alleged MS-13 gang ties are significant: Obama administration officials shipped illegal alien minors with clear gang ties, including vivid, MS-13 gang tattoos seen by Border Patrol agents, to gang-riddled regions like the Washington, D.C. area.
ICE agents have also arrested Sanchez Milian’s father for living illegally in the country. “Eighty percent of the tens of thousands of Central American kids who were caught by the Border Patrol and released by [the Department of Health and Human Services] have been released to other illegal aliens,” illegal immigration expert Jessica Vaughan explained, citing a report from the Associated Press. Most skip their court appearances and live among the rest of the millions-strong illegal alien population, she added.
Only three or four percent of unaccompanied illegal alien minors were deported, a Congressional Research Service report released in April 2016 revealed.