Maryland prosecutors are dropping rape and sex offense charges against two immigrant teens accused of attacking a 14-year-old classmate in a high school bathroom stall in a case that attracted international and White House attention and stoked the debate about illegal immigration, the Washington Post reports. “The facts of this case do not support the original charges filed,” said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy. Defense lawyers said the sex acts were consensual and that text messages and surveillance videos did not substantiate the girl’s claims she had been pushed into a bathroom at Rockville High School on March 16 and that the suspects took turns assaulting her as she tried to break free.
Defense attorney Andrew Jezic called the charges “selective prosecution of elective promiscuity,” adding that “it is hardly uncommon behavior for teenagers.” The severity of the reported assault — the girl originally told police the suspects held her down as she cried and repeatedly told them to stop — and that the two accused teens had entered the U.S. illegally only months earlier drew heated comments from the White House to the Maryland State House and to activists in the county. White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the case in its early days and said, “Part of the reason that the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this. . . . Immigration pays its toll on our people if it’s not done legally, and this is another example.”