ROCKVILLE – Two undocumented immigrants were arrested and each charged with second-degree rape of a then 11-year-old girl. The case forced county officials to clarify a recently signed executive order that bars any communication or collaboration between county agencies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
Montgomery County Police (MCP) charged Carlos Palacios-Amaya, 28, and Mauricio Barrera-Navidad, 29, with the second-degree rape of a girl on separate instances in her Germantown home.
Police charged Palacios-Amaya with four counts of second-degree rape and Barrera-Navidad with one count of second-degree rape, according to charging documents. They were 27 and 28, respectively, and the alleged victim was 11-years-old at the time of the alleged crimes.
Though the girl reported the crimes last month, they had occurred nearly a year prior. According to the charging documents, the young accuser told police and a child forensic interviewer on July 10, 2019, that Palacios Amaya had sex with her on four occasions starting around Sept. 11, 2018, up until Oct. 21, 2018. The encounters also involved numerous sex acts.
The girl and Palacios-Amaya engaged in sexual intercourse in four separate encounters, the girl said. During the second occasion that the young accuser described to police, they engaged in anal sex as well.
“On a few of the times, (the victim) recalled having ‘normal’ sex (vaginal intercourse) with Carlos on more than one occasion during the same day,” police wrote in the charging documents.
Police found several photos of Palacios-Amaya with the accuser on her phone during a digital forensic exam of the device.
The then-11-year-old said during a medical interview with a doctor that Amaya-Palacios had used his cell phone to record the two of them having sex during one of the occasions when intercourse occurred.
The girl told police and the child forensic interviewer on July 10 that the alleged incident of second-degree rape by Barrera-Navidad occurred on or about July 21, 2018, at the girl’s home on the 19500 block of Frederick Road in Germantown, with several sex acts also occurring between them. The victim met Barrera Navidad through her older brother, according to charging documents. The two communicated “for some time” using their phones before and after July 21, 2018, but did not have sexual contact after that date.
Navidad-Barrera and the girl were together at her home on July 21, 2018, the evening of the brother’s birthday party, according to the charging documents. In the brother’s room after the party, he digitally penetrated her, and vaginal intercourse took place. On a separate occasion, he spent the night after celebrating someone’s birthday at her house, and they had sex during that time.
The then-11-year-old told police and a youth development specialist with the non-profit organization.Identity Inc. on July 10, that she was abused by Barrera-Navidad when she was 10 years old.
Nora Morales, director of programs at Identity Inc., said she could not confirm or deny if Identity was involved in the investigation because services are confidential.
MCP did not issue a statement at the time of the arrest of the two suspects, spokesperson Cpl. Rebecca Innocenti confirmed. Innocenti said that MCP cannot comment because that would interfere with the judicial process.
The arrests of Palacios-Amaya and Barrera-Navidad, two undocumented immigrants from El Salvador, come almost a month after Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich signed an executive order that barred county agencies from having any contact with ICE.
The federal agency released a statement following their arrests, stating that both men have been charged with rape in the past and detainers have been logged with the Montgomery County Detention Center on July 25 and 26.
In their statement, ICE officials called Palacios-Amaya a “repeat immigration offender” who was deported from the country in 2014.
Elrich released a statement stating that the crimes being alleged are “horrible” and that the county plans to follow with their detainer requests. The county executive also clarified that the Promoting Community Trust Executive Order has not changed its policy on cooperating with ICE requests unless it is dealing with “individuals charged with serious crimes.”
“The County’s Department of Correction and Rehabilitation will notify ICE if the suspects become eligible for release, but until then, they will remain in our custody until the local legal process is complete,” Elrich said. “Montgomery County is a welcoming community that values the diversity of communities that are made up of people from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and nations.”
“We want to reiterate our support to our county police department and our State’s Attorney’s Office as they work to bring justice to the victim and give the individuals responsible for the punishment they deserve for this heinous crime,” the Montgomery County Council said in a statement. “Above all else, our community’s safety is of greatest importance.”
Following their arrest, the defense attorneys requested in August for the judge to consider changing the bond statuses for the defendants. The judge, whose name was not printed on the orders, denied both motions, according to court documents.
Judge Sherri Debra Koch ordered on July 29 that Barrera-Navidad be held on $100,000 bond, according to court documents. Koch ordered Barrera-Navidad to stay away from the girl’s home and to not visit Neelsville Middle School, which the girl attends.
Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy objected in writing to the motion to change Palacios-Amaya’s bond. According to McCarthy’s opposition, the court put Palacios-Amaya on a no-bond status on July 25.
In both suspects’ motions to review or amend bond, Defense Attorney Kathleen A. Dolan wrote that her client had “no idea” what the alleged victim was describing, regarding the allegations. Dolan wrote that the defendants did know the accuser, however.
Dolan wrote in the emergency motion for bond review Aug. 5 that the bond status for Palacios-Amaya was “another tool in the State’s toolbox for getting clients to plead guilty: no- bond status.”
In another motion, Dolan wrote that Mauricio Barrera- Navidad could not pay $10,000 to be released on the $100,000 bond.
“This is, in effect, ‘no bond,’ – since Mr. Barrera-Navidad is not in a financial position to hire a bondsman for that amount of money,” Dolan wrote in the motion.
Both suspects are scheduled to have a status hearing on Aug. 23 at District Court in Rockville, according to online court records.
Reporter Jose Umana contributed to this report.