Three alleged members of a street gang are being held without bail on charges of raping a 16-year-old girl and robbing her friend.
Jose Cornejo, 17, Bryan Larios, 18, and Joel Escobar, 17, are accused of raping the girl on a golf course on Long Island, New York, on May 29, in what prosecutors termed a “barbaric” act.
“This is one of the most brutal, heinous crimes that I have seen in a long, long time,” declared Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota to the media after the suspects’ court hearing.
Spota went on to note that all three suspects come from El Salvador, and he alleged they were part of the MS-13 street gang.
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The trio reportedly confronted the girl and a school friend at a nearby middle school. They robbed the friend at around 6:15 p.m., causing him to flee the scene, NBC New York reported.
After threatening the girl by claiming they had a weapon, the three suspects allegedly forced her to walk with them to a wooded area of the golf course. Two took turns raping her while the third kept a lookout, the prosecution claimed.
“This poor young woman is so lucky that, quite frankly, that she is alive. These are vicious young men, vicious young men and what they did to her was absolutely terrible,” Spota said.
The alarm was raised when the girl was found walking out of the woods by golfers. She was virtually naked, prosecutors said.
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The victim was able to provide a detailed description of her alleged attackers, and this led to the capture of Escobar, who has a tattoo on his chin.
The attorneys for the suspects all entered not guilty pleas on charges including first-degree rape, sexual abuse, assault and robbery. The attorney for Larios asserted that the 18-year-old was not involved.
According to Daily Mail, all three attorneys claimed their clients were high school students, but prosecutors disputed this.
NBC New York reported that the two 17-year-olds are to be tried as adults in the case.
All three suspects are being held without bail.
Photo credit: Suffolk County District Attorney via Daily Mail