A Fairfax County Juvenile Court Judge dismissed for lack of evidence yesterday rape charges against two boys, aged 14 and 17, who had been accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in a bathroom at Fort Hunt High School during a football game in October.
Judge Michael J. Valentine ended the case, which he heard behind closed doors because all involved were juveniles, after hearing the prosecution's evidence.
"He dismissed the charges, he ruled that the commonwealth's testimony was fraught with inconsistencies, and he was right," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Corinne J. Magee, who prosecuted the case. She said her witnesses did not testify that the boys raped the girl, as she had expected them to.
Jim Clark, defense attorney for the 17-year-old senior at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria who was charged, said: "It's an abomination that the case was even brought based on the evidence that I heard today."
Magee said, "There was only the victim's testimony that she was raped," during yesterday's seven-hour hearing. She said the girl could not tell who raped her "because she was so freaked out by the whole thing." Magee said, "That's why we needed the testimony of two boys" who supposedly witnessed the rape.
But Magee said those two boys, who said they were in the bathroom when the incident occurred, testified that "they didn't see any sex act, becase they couldn't see what was going on."
Magee said that, based on the initial police investigation of the incident, the girl was "definitely raped" and that the prosecutor's office will pursue "additional investigation with respect to perjury. We had one set of facts, now we have another set of facts, and we've got to find out which set of facts are true."
William Moffitt, attorney for the 14-year-old who was charged, who attends Hammond Junior High in Alexandria, said the case "is a clear example of the momentum in the system getting out of control . . . Somebody had to be charged with something, and somebody had to be vindicated.
"I feel horribly sorry for this young woman, because I really don't know what happened, and this woman has to live with this stigma because of this."
A charge of abduction against a 19-year-old Alexandria man in the same case was dismissed by Valentine last week for insufficient evidence.
According to initial police reports, the girl was taken into a bathroom and raped twice in a stall while a group of boys -- at least eight but perhaps as many as 20 -- looked on.
The incident took place Oct. 3 in a girls' bathroom at Fort Hunt High during a junior varsity football game there between Fort Hunt and T.C. Williams High. At the time, the Fort Hunt PTA was meeting in the school's cafeteria.
Defense attorneys Clark and Moffitt said that, based on the sharply contradictory and vague testimony at yesterday's trial, it was unclear to them what had happened in the bathroom. Both said their clients were in the bathroom during the incident.
The incident attracted intense public interest because of the nature of the crime, because the police initially withheld the report of it from the public and because of initial, inaccurate police reports that the attack was cheered on by boys in the bathroom watching it.
No charges are pending in the incident.
According to Magee, the girl was picked up and carried into the bathroom by one boy. The girl testified that she made no protest and did not scream or cry out or try to escape, according to Magee and both defense attorneys.
"Put yourself in the position where you are picked up, thrown over the shoulder of someone in a group of 13 guys," Magee said. "What would anybody in their right mind do under those circumstances? If you're a five-foot girl, you're certainly not going to fight them off."
She described the girl as "absolutely demolished. When I told her what happened, she just collapsed in her mother's arms, crying." The girl had waited in a hallway after testifying.