One of the two suspects accused of raping a 14-year-old student at Rockville High School was picked up by a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas seven months ago, determined to have illegally entered the country, and issued a notice to appear in immigration court, federal officials said Monday.
The suspect, Henry Sanchez-Milian, 18, arrived in Montgomery County around that same period, according to records filed at Montgomery County District Court. He was placed in ninth grade at Rockville High School, as was the other suspect, Jose O. Montano, 17, according to a court hearing last week.
Montano has been charged as an adult in the case.
Montano is accused of pushing the 14-year-old student into a boys’ bathroom during school hours Thursday morning and then forcing her into a stall as she tried to hold on to a sink, according to police affidavits filed in court. Inside the stall, he and Sanchez-Milian, whose name also is spelled as Sanchez in court records, took turns attacking the girl, according to court records.
Both teenagers have been charged with one count of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sex offense. The crimes carry possible sentences of life in prison.
The suspects’ accounts of the events have not yet been presented in public filings.
Montgomery Schools Superintendent Jack Smith said Monday the allegations are “horrible and unacceptable.”
As part of a broader effort to review security measures, schools officials said Rockville High School staff were taking steps to more closely monitor hall passes and students coming in and out of class.
“I was immediately sick and disgusted” about the reports of what happened at Rockville High, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said Monday. “This should not happen. Period.”
Leggett said the two suspects had “no previous involvement in the county’s criminal-justice system.” He said that if the suspects are convicted, he would “cooperate fully” with federal immigration officials to have them deported after serving any imposed prison sentences.
The suspects’ immigration status is a topic of high interest for residents in Montgomery County and, as news of the case spreads nationally, people in other states.
Available records at Montgomery County District Court show that Sanchez-Milian was born in Guatemala and lived there until he was 17.
“In August 2016, Henry Sanchez-Milian was encountered by a border patrol agent in Rio Valley Grande, Texas, who determined the individual had unlawfully entered the United States from Mexico,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Matthew Bourke said in a statement. “Sanchez-Milian was issued a notice to appear in front of an immigration judge, which is currently waiting to be scheduled.”
Sanchez-Milian arrived in Montgomery County seven months ago, according to Montgomery County court records. After his arrest last week, ICE officials requested a “detainer” be placed on him at the county jail, meaning they are interested in possible future deportation proceedings.
ICE officials declined to comment on whether they have requested a detainer for Montano, saying they could not discuss his case because he is a juvenile. According to court records, Montano was born in El Salvador, lived there for 16 years and also arrived in Montgomery County seven months ago.
Bill Turque contributed to this report.