Gov. Larry Hogan stated Tuesday he is “outraged” by the report of a brutal rape of a Rockville High School freshman and called on Montgomery County to fully cooperate with federal authorities in the investigation of the crime.
“I am outraged by the brutal and violent rape of a 14 year old girl in a Rockville public school,” Hogan wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday morning. “The public has a right to know how something this tragic and unacceptable was allowed to transpire in a public school.”
Henry Sanchez, 18, and Jose Montano, 17, both students at Rockville High School, were arrested last week by county police for allegedly raping a female classmate in a boys bathroom during school hours. They were both charged with first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual offense and are being held without bond.
The case has sparked intense public debate surrounding the immigration status of Sanchez and Montano, both recent immigrants from Central America, with many residents critical of the county and school system for not issuing tougher enforcement of immigration policies.
Sanchez, who lives in Aspen Hill, arrived from Guatemala seven months ago. Montano, of unconfirmed address, arrived from El Salvador about eight months ago, ABC7 reports.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman told Bethesda Beat on Monday that ICE issued a detainer for Sanchez on Thursday after he was arrested. A border patrol agent interacted with Sanchez in August 2016 in Rio Valley Grande, Texas, and Sanchez was issued a notice to appear before an immigration judge for a hearing that has not yet been scheduled. An immigration judge never issued Sanchez a deportation order. ICE could not comment on Montano’s case because he is a minor.
On Monday night, the most recent post before he posted about the Rockville rape case, Hogan posted a status on Facebook criticizing a General Assembly bill that limits the ability of local jails to hold individuals for immigration reasons and stipulates state and local law enforcement cannot ask people about their immigration status. The bill passed the House by a 83-55 vote Monday, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Hogan called the bill “outrageously irresponsible” and stated it would “make Maryland a sanctuary state and endanger our citizens.”
“This legislation would interfere with our state and local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal law enforcement authorities,” he wrote. “I will veto this dangerously misguided legislation the moment that it reaches my desk.”
Editor’s note: This story was corrected to reflect that ICE could not comment on the case of Montano because he is a minor, not Sanchez, as was originally written.