A suspect in the reported rape of a 14-year-old girl at Rockville High School will appear before a district court judge for a bond review Thursday in light of new evidence that his attorneys claim suggests his innocence.
Attorneys argued that Jose Montano, 17, had communicated with the freshman girl through cellphone text messages the day before the incident, according to a court document. In the conversation, the student said she had previous sexual contact with Montano and agreed to have sex with him in the school during physical education class the next day, according to attorneys. She also sent explicit images of herself to Montano the night before the incident, the lawyers wrote in the motion for a bond review.
Montano and Henry Sanchez Milian, 18, both students at Rockville High School, were arrested for a reported rape that occurred in a boys bathroom at the high school on March 16. The girl told police she repeatedly asked the two to stop and cried out as they took turns assaulting her, according to court documents.
David Wooten, a Silver Spring-based lawyer representing Montano, filed a request for a bond review on Monday, arguing that new evidence has been discovered since the previous bond review on March 17, during which Montano was denied bond. Montano was previously represented by a public defender, but Wooten said he was retained by Montano's family.
“He is innocent,” Wooten told Bethesda Beat on Wednesday. “The new evidence clearly demonstrates that the accusation as it was originally presented by police is not true.”
Judge Eugene Wolf granted the request for a bond review Tuesday, and Montano is scheduled for a bond review before Judge James Sarsfield at 1 p.m. Thursday in the Montgomery County District Court in Rockville.
Sanchez Milian is expected to plead not guilty. Andrew Jezic, an attorney whose Wheaton-based firm is representing Sanchez Milian, said the encounter was consensual and that his client had become a scapegoat for a political cause. Jezic said Wednesday that he would likely not pursue a bond review for Sanchez Milian as they await the results of Montano's bond hearing and because of a possible immigration detainer against him.
The rape case has instigated public furor over the issue of immigration, with everyone from community members to the White House weighing in. Sanchez Milian, who is from Guatemala, and Montano, who is from El Salvador, are both undocumented immigrants who entered the country illegally within the past eight months.
Sanchez Milian’s father, Adolfo Sanchez-Reyes, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Friday and is awaiting an immigration hearing. Jezic's firm is also representing Sanchez-Reyes and will be seeking to get him out on bond. He is currently detained in a detention center in Jessup.
Montano has a preliminary hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday and Sanchez Milian has a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 14, both in the Montgomery County District Court.
Editor's note: The article has been corrected to reflect that the bond review will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, not 10 a.m. as originally reported.