Trial date set for Sanchez Featured

Sanchez mug shotHenry Sanchez                 FILE PHOTO  ROCKVILLE – Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge John Debelius set Oct. 24 as the trial date for Henry E. Sanchez, a Rockville High School student formerly charged with rape. He is now charged with two counts of possession of child pornography.

Sanchez, 18, along with Jose O. Montano, was charged with one count of first-degree rape and two counts of sexual assault of a 14-year-old female student at Rockville High School, but the State’s Attorney’s Office for Montgomery County decided to drop the charges after an independent investigation showed there was not enough evidence to proceed.

“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 in this matter,” McCarthy said after the state dropped the charges against Sanchez May 4.

While the rape and sexual assault charges have been dropped against Sanchez, he is now being charged with two counts of child pornography.

When the state had charged Sanchez and Montano with rape, Montano’s attorneys contended that Montano and the 14-year-old girl had consensual sex at school and that a message exchange between the students proved it.

According to Montano’s attorney Maria Mena, the 14-year-old girl sent Montano lewd photos of herself. Sanchez’s attorney Andrew Jezic said Montano forwarded the message to Sanchez.

The story eventually reached the White House, which had been pushing a crackdown on illegal immigration as a core issue. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the case was an example why President Donald J. Trump took a hard line on immigration.

“I think part of the reason the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in March, regarding the incident at Rockville High School.  

According to Matthew Bourke, a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a U.S. Border Patrol agent stopped Sanchez last summer for crossing illegally into the United States. Sanchez, a citizen of Guatemala, was supposed to have a hearing with a federal immigration judge, but a hearing was never scheduled.

Like Sanchez, Montano was an undocumented immigrant, according to Mena.

The State’s Attorney’s Office originally charged Montano, 17, as an adult, but after the rape and sexual assault charges were dropped, they moved Montano’s case to juvenile court, meaning his case is no longer public.



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