ROCKVILLE — The State’s Attorney office for Montgomery County dropped all charges against Jose Montano, 17, Friday in Montgomery County District Court in Rockville.
Montano along with Henry Sanchez, were charged with first-degree rape and two counts of sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl on March 16 at Rockville High School.
According to John McCarthy, the state’s attorney for Montgomery County, the charges against Montano were dropped after an independent investigation showed that there was not enough evidence to prove that Montano raped the 14-year-old Rockville High School student.
“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,” McCarthy said in statement.
McCarthy said after police conducted their original investigation the prosecution conducted their own investigation that used forensic, DNA, video evidence showing there was not enough proof that Montano raped the 14-year-old girl.
McCarthy did not take questions, saying that he could not comment on Montano’s case any further, given that other charges against him will go to juvenile court. According to Montano’s attorney, Maria Mena, Montano could be charged with possession and distribution of pornography because he possessed lewd photos and videos from the 14-year-old girl and sent them to Sanchez according to Mena.
Mena said that if the state charges Montano, it should also charge the 14-year-old girl.
“I mean that’s a double standard,” Mena said. “If you’re going to charge, they both should be charged and both face the consequences of a trial.”
Montano’s attorneys argued that messages between Montano and the 14-year-old girl showed the two planned on having sex at school the next day.
David Wooten, another attorney for Montano, said the potential pornography charges are ironic given the circumstances.
“The irony is the very images and text messages that vindicated the rape charges are now being used against him to continue to pursue whatever other ulterior motive the state has,” Wooten said.
Sanchez will appear in Montgomery County District Court on May 12. McCarthy would not comment on whether the state would drop the rape charges against Sanchez.