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Statement of State's Attorney John McCarthy concerning the Rockville High School Rape Investigation

I would like to thank the Chief of Police (Tom Manger), the Superintendent of Montgomery County Schools (Dr. Jack Smith) and the President of the School Board (Michael A. Durso) for joining me today.  In addition, here today from my office is Mary Herdman, Debbie Feinstein and Rebecca Macvittie.   We are here to announce the results of an extensive investigation that followed the original filing of charges against two individuals for an alleged sexual offense at Rockville High School on March 16, 2017.

The National District Attorney’s Association has standards on prosecutorial ethics, it states “the prosecutor is an independent administrator of justice.  The primary responsibility of a prosecutor is to seek justice, which can only be achieved by the representation and presentation of the truth.  This responsibility includes, but is not limited to, ensuring that the guilty are held accountable, that the innocent are protected from unwarranted harm, and that the rights of all participants, particularly victims of crime, are respected”.  We have been guided by that principle throughout this investigation. 

The initial charges were based on a report by a 14-year-old student from Rockville High school.  Since that time, our office conducted an independent investigation over several weeks’ time with the participation and cooperation of the Montgomery County Police Department, the Montgomery County Public School administration, and the 14-year-old student, her family and her attorneys.

The initial filing of charges by the Montgomery County Police was supported by the information possessed by the police department as of March 16, 2017.  But as always, investigations do not stop after an arrest is made.   Continuing investigative efforts have lead us to where we are today.

The investigation included a comprehensive review of the original witness interviews, numerous additional witness interviews, medical record reviews, review of video interview recordings, review of school security videos, school record reviews, forensic evidence, and phone and computer record reviews with multiple translations and transcription.

As part of the review, we have met on multiple occasions with the 14-year-old student, her mother and her attorney. 

We have consulted a number of experts in various areas including forensic science, computer forensics, and sexual assault forensics.

The actions taken today have been discussed with the family and the family’s attorney, including the 14-year-old student.

As prosecutors, we always go where the evidence takes us.  After a complete and thorough assessment of the facts, our duty is to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to support criminal charges in violation of Maryland Law, regardless of public opinion or political pressures...  After a painstaking investigation and review of these matters, we have concluded that the facts of this case do not support the charges originally filed in this matter.  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 is untenable on those charges. 

With reference to the 17 year old, that matter now lies within the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court and as a result I have no further comment on that matter based on the confidentiality laws regarding juvenile proceedings.

With regard to Henry Sanchez, the 18 year old, a criminal information has been filed in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County charging him with the possession of child pornography, the maximum sentence is 5 years.  This matter will proceed in the ordinary course in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County.   It is anticipated that the initial trial date in that matter will be set in approximately 90 days.  

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