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17-year-old accused in Rockville rape awaits trial

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ROCKVILLE – Prosecutors will have until May 5 to decide whether to go forward with rape and sexual assault charges against Jose O. Montano, a Rockville High School student accused of raping a fellow student.

Montano, 17, along with Henry E. Sanchez, 18, was charged with first-degree rape and two first-degree sexual offense charges after police said the two Rockville High School students raped a 14-year-old girl during school hours.

District Court Judge Eugene Wolfe set Montano’s trial date for May 5, which means the state’s attorney will have until then to either proceed or drop the charges against Montano.

“Hopefully, they’ll make the right decision and realize Mr. Montano was arrested hastily without an investigation,” said Montano’s attorney, David Wooten.

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Immigrants long for role models as they adjust to life in their new home country

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This is an ongoing series devoted to the stories of Montgomery County’s immigrant population.

In 2005, Claudia Paiva, then 15 years old, boarded a plane with her family from Peru to the United States, attracted by the prospect of university scholarships for Paiva and her older brother.

“It’s very expensive for a middle-class family to send a kid to college in Peru, and there aren’t as many scholarship opportunities as there are here,” Paiva said. 

Paiva and her family came to the U.S. on a six-month tourist visa and remained in the country without papers after it expired, living as undocumented immigrants for several years.

“Peru is a very traditional, very religious country,” Paiva said. “When we got here, my parents became very protective and repressive, and I resented them for that for a long time.”

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Immigration issue overshadows rape

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Outrage and sadness erupted after a girl reported a rape in a Rockville High School bathroom on March 16.

But the unity of emotion following the rape of a 14-year-old student comes to a crashing halt when the topic of immigration surfaces.

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Outrage over high school rape

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Parents worry for safety while school system defends actions in wake of crime

Sanchez mug shotHenry E. Sanchez        POLICE COURTESY PHOTO

WASHINGTON D.C. – The federal government will take no special actions against Montgomery County or Rockville, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, following a rape of a 14- year-old female student at Rockville High School allegedly involving an 18-year-old and 17-year-old undocumented immigrants.

Both Rockville and Montgomery County do not cooperate with federal authorities on enforcing immigration law unless the person is a violent offender.

“Our policy and executive order speak for themselves,” Spicer said, but added there was “nothing special” planned against either the city or the county.

On Friday, police arrested two students from Rockville High School and charged them with first-degree rape, after allegedly raping a fellow female student Thursday morning around nine a.m.

Henry E. Sanchez, 18, and Jose O. Montano, 17, are both charged with one count of first-degree rape and two first-degree sex offenses and are being held without bond.

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The politics of a local tragedy

Sanchez mug shot

Somewhere in this county right now a 14-year-old girl is confused, angry and hurting. Dragged into a bathroom at her high school and repeatedly raped, she has been violated and her humanity torn from her in a way no child should ever face.
An 18-year-old illegal immigrant stands accused of the crime along with a 17-year-old juvenile illegal immigrant – one of whom was facing deportation hearings - and because of who they are the story has taken on national significance.

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Immigrant fear continues

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Local children apparently afraid while at school parents will be deported

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Anxious calls of concern are coming into both the Montgomery School District’s main offices and individual schools as parents work to deal with their fears about whether they or their children might be deported due to their immigration status.

“Parents are concerned,” said Montgomery County Public School District Spokesman Derek Turner. “We’ve heard from up-county, and we’ve heard from down-county,” he said, explaining that the calls aren’t just coming from a few isolated areas.

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Rockville considers sanctuary

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City holds public forum and listens as residents and neighbors discuss immigration

Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE – More than 80 people testified during a public hearing Monday on a planned ordinance which would preclude the city from enforcing federal immigration law.

Residents, property owners and workers in the city, as well as individuals from elsewhere in the county, shared concerns about what would happen if the ordinance was implemented.

Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said the purpose of the public hearing was to give residents a chance to comment on the idea of Rockville becoming a sanctuary city. She said she and the council received many letters over the past few weeks pertaining to the sanctuary city status.

There were “many in support and there are many who have concerns,” Newton said.

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Muslim Community Center sponsors symposium on tolerance

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SILVER SPRING –The staff of the Muslim Community Center invited the public to a panel discussion held on the center grounds Tuesday night on “How to oppose hate in our communities.” The discussion focused on ways to respond to hate crimes, combat negative stereotypes of various groups as well as resistance to troubling policies, such as President Trump’s recently-overturned ban on traveling to seven Muslim majority countries and proposed mass deportations of undocumented immigrants.

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“They put me in handcuffs”

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Part 2 of an ongoing series on the stories of the immigrant population of Montgomery County

 

Jean Valjean (not his real name) is a Montgomery County resident who has lived in the United States for nearly a quarter-century, speaks English fluently and owns a successful clothing business, and until August 2013, he was an undocumented immigrant.

Valjean was born in Abidjan, the largest city in the Francophonic West African nation of Ivory Coast, but says he has few memories the land of his birth, which he left in 1993 when he was 6 years old.

“My grandfather ran a very successful bakery, and my mother was his favorite child,” Valjean said. “He planned to leave everything to her, but my mother’s siblings conspired to kill her and us, so she raised all the money she could to bring us to the United States as lawful visa holders."

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Holiday cheer missing as CASA helps those without this season

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holiday party groceriesBags of groceries were made available at a holiday party for local apartment residents at the Pine Ridge Community Center. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  

More than 250 residents from several apartment complexes on Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring waited patiently as they stood in line Saturday night to receive a hot dinner and a large bag of groceries to take home.

CASA hosted a holiday party at its Pine Ridge Community Center on Piney Branch Road, which featured music and a bonfire in the parking lot and wall-to-wall people inside waiting to give their names and addresses so that they could receive a bag of food overflowing with potatoes and green vegetables. The food was donated by Priority Partners and area food banks.

There was little room for mingling and even less holiday cheer as attendees snaked around rooms, into hallways and around the bags of food until it was their turn.

It’s been a rough few months for many of them, especially since the explosion and fire at Flower Branch Apartments. Seven of their neighbors lost their lives, and another 100 saw their homes and belongings destroyed.

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