ROCKVILLE, Md. — One of two Hispanic teens who entered the country illegally and were later charged with raping a 14-year-old girl in a restroom at their suburban Washington high school entered a plea on child pornography charges Friday.
The 17-year-old Maryland boy pleaded “involvement,” a juvenile court term, to possessing a pornographic image of the alleged victim that she sent him, the Washington Post reported . Sentencing is set for Aug. 16. The Associated Press does not generally name juvenile offenders.
The teen, along with 18-year-old Henry Sanchez Milian, was charged as an adult in the alleged March rape. Prosecutors dropped the rape charges but brought child pornography charges against both teens. Defense attorneys claimed the sex was consensual.
Sanchez Milian’s trial on child porn charges is scheduled for Oct. 30.
Both teens entered the country illegally, propelling the case into the national immigration debate.
It remains unclear whether the juvenile, a native of El Salvador, will be granted residency status or deported.
“There’s a lot of work to be done,” said one of his attorneys, Jose Canto, “but I think he has a chance to get a green card.”
Sanchez Milian entered the country illegally from Guatemala. Both teens had been detained at the border and then allowed to continue on to Montgomery County, Maryland, where they enrolled at Rockville High as ninth-graders.
After the initial charges were filed in March, then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer, in response to a reporter’s question, called the allegations shocking and disturbing.
“Part of the reason that the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this,” Spicer said.
The county school system later became the subject of anti-immigration protests and counterprotests. Officials said they were besieged by hundreds of racist and xenophobic calls and comments, and had to increase security.