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Four Damascus High School Students Indicted for Rape by Grand Jury

The four Damascus High School students accused of raping one and attempting to rape three other fellow football players in the locker room at the school have been indicted by a Montgomery County Grand Jury, according to the Montgomery County State’ Attorney’s Office.

The Grand Jury returned the indictments late Thursday afternoon. The four 15-year-old football players — Jean Claude Abedi, age 15, of Clarksburg, Kristian Jamal Lee, age 15, of Germantown, Will Daniel Smith, age 15, of Clarksburg, and Caleb Thorpe, age 15, of Gaithersburg — were indicted on eight counts. Each been indicted on one count of First Degree Rape, three counts Attempted First Degree Rape, and four counts of Conspiracy to Commit Rape.

At Monday’s Bond Hearing, Deputy State’s Attorney Peter Feeney told District Court Judge John Moffett the details of the attack that prosecutors say took place before the Damascus junior varsity football team was to have the final practice of the season on Oct. 31. Prosecutors say the four boys, who are being charged as adults, and fifth boy still charged but as a juvenile attacked four freshmen in the locker room at Damascus High School, beating and stomping the victims, anally raping one victim with a wooden broomstick, and attempting to do the same to three others.

At the Bond Hearing, a Judge Moffett ordered each of the teens released on $20,000 unsecured bond, with parents co-signing for the bond, but under a number of conditions. The boys are not to return to Damascus High School. The four are not to have any sort of contact with each other or any of the victims or other witnesses in the case. Each teen will be under a curfew which will be enforced by Montgomery County Pre-trial Services through electronic monitoring. All four defendants were also ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.

The four defendants were to appear in court in Rockville Friday morning for a Preliminary Hearing, but Thursday’s indictment makes that hearing moot, and it has been canceled. If convicted each of the four is facing the possibility of life in prison.

However, there is still a chance that some or all of the defendants will be tried as juveniles in this case. Each of the defendants is expected to file for a waiver hearing which is a request to reverse the jurisdiction and put the case back into juvenile court. Indeed, David Felson, attorney for Will Smith told reporters that he had already filed the motion for such a waiver.

There are five factors which play into the decision to grant a waiver. The waiver studies are done by the Division of Juvenile Services for the State of Maryland. The studies will look at five factors, the age of the boys, the physical and mental capabilities of the boys, their role in the crime, amenability to treatment, and public safety. The State’s Attorney’s Office will decide whether or not to oppose the waivers for a change of venue on an individual basis.