On May 5, Maryland prosecutors said there's no evidence to support rape and sodomy charges against two young immigrants in the country illegally who were accused of assaulting a fellow student.
A 17-year-old boy and 18-year-old Henry Sanchez Milian were initially charged with sodomizing a 14-year-old girl in a Rockville High School bathroom on March 16, The Washington Post reports.
News of the alleged rape captured national attention after the White House referred it to as an example of why President Donald Trump wanted to crack down on illegal immigration.
"Part of the reason that the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this," White House press secretary Sean Spicer once said. "Immigration pays its toll on our people if it’s not done legally, and this is another example."
Sanchez Milian's attorney repeatedly argued the girl consented to the acts.
"At no point did the girl express any reluctance with any sex acts," said Sanchez Milian’s attorney, Andrew Jezic. "From the night before, she actively planned a sexual encounter."
After two months of intense scrutiny, which included investigating video recordings and texts revealing the girl agreed to sex previously, prosecutors had to drop charges.
"As prosecutors we always go where the evidence takes us ... regardless of public opinion or political pressures," Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said.
"We have concluded that the facts in this case do not support the original charges filed in this matter," he added, the Daily Mail reports. "Due to the lack of corroboration and substantial inconsistencies from the facts that we have obtained from multiple sources since the filing of the original charging document, the original charges cannot be sustained, and prosecution on those charges is untenable."
Now the two will face child pornography charges after investigators found images the teen girl sent of herself to the 17-year-old, who then forwarded it to Sanchez Milian.
Sanchez Milian’s attorney called the charges "selective prosecution of elective promiscuity." He adds that "it is hardly uncommon behavior for teenagers."
The attorney for the 17-year-old, Maria Mena, agrees.
"I do feel what they are doing now is egregious," she said, noting these were the same images that helped clear her client's rape charges.
Prosecutors also considered pressing statutory rape charges against the two, saying the 14-year-old was too young to legally consent. But in Maryland, suspects must be a full four years older than the victim to pursue such a case.