Dan Morse reports for the Washington Post:
“Maryland prosecutors have dropped child pornography charges against Rockville teenager Henry Sanchez Milian, quietly ending a case that erupted onto the national stage when Sanchez Milian and a friend — who each entered the country illegally last year — were accused of raping a classmate in a school bathroom.
“I am grateful to God,” Sanchez Milian’s stepmother, Lorena Hernandez, said outside of court Friday. “Now there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
With the dismissed charges, Sanchez Milian no longer faces any counts from incidents that unfolded on March 16, when a 14-year-old student at Rockville High School told school officials and detectives she had been forced into a bathroom stall, held down and attacked.
Sanchez Milian, 18 at the time, and Jose Montano, 17 at the time, were charged by Montgomery County police with rape and sex offense counts, punishable by life in prison. Montano was charged as an adult.
In the two months that followed, however, prosecutors studied high school surveillance video, reviewed phone records, spoke to the girl and others, and concluded the original claims could not be corroborated. Defense attorneys had been telling prosecutors for weeks that the sex acts had been consensual.
Henry Sanchez Milian (Montgomery County Police)
In May, prosecutors dropped the rape case but filed charges against the suspects related to possession of child pornography. According to their new case, before March 16, Montano had engaged in lewd text exchanges with the 14-year-old, and she sent him images of herself unclothed. Montano then forwarded the images to Sanchez Milian, prosecutors said.
Defense attorneys did not deny that sequence of events, but they blasted prosecutors for what they said was a stretch of child pornography laws designed to go after adults. Montano’s attorneys resolved his pornography case in juvenile court when he admitted to possessing one of the images.
But Sanchez Milian — who had stayed in the adult court system — was facing trial on child pornography charges at the end of October. His defense attorneys had dug in for a fight, establishing in hearings that they had the legal right to call the girl to the witness stand for questioning about whether the images in the texts were of her.
Read the full story at the link.