A female student with “the vocabulary of a toddler” is alleged to have been raped by four teens in a janitor’s closet at North Miami Senior High School in January, reports the Miami Herald.
The teens -- 18-year-old Derek Bynum, two 17-year-olds and a 15-year-old -- face felony sexual battery charges on a person with mental disabilities. Prosecutors have dropped charges against a fifth student arrested in the case.
Arrest forms say that a school security guard caught the students leaving the closet and the girl explained what had happened. She told Miami-Dade school police that the boys “forced her to perform oral, anal and vaginal sex acts,” according to the Miami Herald.
Bynum and one of the 17-year-old suspects have pleaded not guilty, while the other two have not yet entered their pleas, according to court documents. The same 17-year-old faces an additional battery charge.
“The discovery process is ongoing,” Matthew Ladd, the 17-year-old’s lawyer, told the Miami Herald. "We’re trying to get to the bottom of what, if anything, happened — and all the clients remain and are presumed innocent."
NBC 6 South Florida reports that the Miami-Dade County School District released a statement on Thursday about the case. It reads, in part, “While we struggle to understand the senseless depravity of this isolated but disturbing student incident — we commend the deliberate and swift actions of Miami-Dade Schools Police in apprehending the alleged perpetrators.”
Bynum wrote to the judge serving over his case about his innocence.
“I feel like I’m being tried and accused of something I did not do,” he wrote. “All I want to do is graduate from high school, make my family proud and be somebody. But, this case, I feel like it will ruin my chances and my dreams.”
School officials say the female student was in a job-training program for high-functioning disabled students.
The teens could spend up to 30 years in prison if convicted, according to the Daily Mail.