DAMASCUS, Md. (AP) – Four Maryland 15-year-olds are out on bail but face life in prison after being charged as adults with first-degree rape in a locker room attack.
Jean Claude Abedi, Kristian Jamal Lee, Will Smith, and Caleb Thorpe were released on Monday. A fifth teen is facing lesser second-degree rape charges as a juvenile.
The victims told investigators that they could not figure out why their own teammates would do this to them.
Prosecutors call it a locker room attack and are painting a grim picture of what allegedly took place.
Prosecutors also say the suspects may have targeted at least one of their victims for bullying for the entire school year, and then on Halloween, the sophomores allegedly invaded the freshman locker room, turned out the lights and tackled one teen after the other, and either raped or attempted to rape each of them in the rectum with a broomstick.
“I’m offended by the term hazing, it’s not hazing, these are crimes,” said John McCarthy, Montgomery County State’s Attorney.
The four Damascus High School students are being charged as an adult and were separately held at adult detention facilities since their arrest last Wednesday.
“He is not a danger to the community, nor is he a risk of flight and in that circumstance, in adult court, someone should be afforded bond,”
Just before Monday’s court hearing was scheduled to get underway, someone hung broomsticks around Damascus High, police are trying to figure out who might have done this and whether they intended to intimidate.
A judge decided the teens weren’t flight risks and thought staying in their parents’ homes with supervision would not threaten the community.
The judge ordered the teens to not contact each other or the victims and to stay away from the school.
One of the defense lawyers has filed to move the case back down to juvenile court.